Clergy abuse: Trial begins in one case, allegations raised in 2 others


Three separate cases involving clergy sexual abuse are in the news this week in Minnesota.

Trial begins for accused former priest

Former priest Francis Hoefgen is standing trial this week in Dakota County on charges he sexually abused an altar boy 25 years ago at a church in Hastings, MPR News reports.

Hoefgen, 64, is charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abusing the boy from 1989 to 1991 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church while he was serving as a priest there, the Star Tribune reported.

Hoefgen, who was also a monk at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, is the subject of a civil lawsuit against the abbey as well. He was identified by the abbey in 2011 as a former monk who was "credibly accused" of sexual abuse, according to MPR News.

 Richfield priest placed on leave

The pastor of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Richfield has been placed on a leave of absence after an allegation of sexual abuse was leveled against him.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said in a statement Tuesday that it received a "credible allegation" that the Rev. Gerald Dvorak sexually abused a minor in the 1970s.

The statement notes that a "credible allegation" is not a presumption of guilt.

Dvorak released a brief statement saying he has never abused anyone, and asks for prayers for him and for "all those involved."

Dvorak has been pastor of St. Peter in Richfield since 2011. He's worked at several parishes in the archdiocese since 1978, according to the Associated Press.

Woman sues Duluth Diocese

A woman is suing the Diocese of Duluth, alleging that she was sexually abused by a priest at a Catholic school in Brainerd in the early 1960s.

Quin Buchtel, 65, of Olivia, Minn., filed a lawsuit Monday, alleging that she was abused by the Rev. Charles Gormly in the early 1960s when she was attending St. Francis of Assisi School, the Duluth News Tribune reports. Buchtel said she was 12 or 13 at the time of the abuse, according to the lawsuit.

Gormly, who was ordained as a priest in 1938, spent most of his career in the Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyo. He died in Wisconsin in 1968, according to the News Tribune.

Among the lawsuit's demands is the public release of all internal diocese documents detailing child sexual abuse cases.

Next Up