Charges: Hastings priest sexually abused altar boy for years


Criminal charges filed against a former priest claim he sexually assaulted an altar boy at his Hastings church over a two year period beginning in 1989.

WCCO reports Francis Hoefgen faces two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison if convicted. Dakota County authorities say the victim was between the ages of 9 and 12 when the abuse occurred and reported it to law enforcement last November.

The Pioneer Press says Hoefgen worked in Hastings from 1985 until 1992 and was with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church during the years the sexual abuse allegedly occurred.

Hoefgen had already been named in a civil lawsuit filed last November. That suit contends that Hoefgen abused a teenaged boy in Cold Spring in 1983 and was subsequently sent to a treatment center for priests accused of sexual misconduct. The suit argues church officials concealed Hoefgen's history of abuse when they sent him to work in Hastings.

The Star Tribune reports Hoefgen, who now lives in Columbia Heights, was released from jail after posting bond at his initial court appearance on the criminal charge Wednesday.

Police Chief Bryan Schafer tells the Hastings Star Gazette the alleged victim is now in his mid 30s and no longer lives in Hastings. The newspaper also quotes Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, who says waiting more than 20 years to report a sex crime is not surprising because victims usually repress abuse.

City Pages reported in March that the priest who succeeded Hoefgen at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1992 subsequently left the Catholic church and is now a consultant to attorneys who handle clergy sex abuse cases.

That former priest, Patrick Wall, joined attorney Jeffrey Anderson this week in announcing a new lawsuit against St. John's Abbey alleging a monk sexually abused two boys in the 1970s.

Hoefgen was defrocked in 2012, the Pioneer Press reports. In December St. John's included his name on a list of 18 current and former monks the Abbey concluded had likely committed sexual abuse of minors.

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.


Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.


1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.