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Defrocked priest Curtis Wehmeyer pleads guilty, is sentenced in a 3rd sexual abuse case

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A former St. Paul priest who is serving a five-year prison term for sexually assaulting two boys has pleaded guilty to assaulting an 18-year-old man in Wisconsin in 2011.

Curtis Wehmeyer, 50, entered the guilty plea in court in Chippewa County, Wisconsin, on Friday, and was immediately sentenced to three years in prison and three years of supervised release, according to the Chippewa Herald.

Wehmeyer was convicted of sexually assaulting two brothers - ages 12 and 14 at the time - in 2010. He was the pastor at Blessed Sacrament parish on St. Paul's East Side, and the boys were members of the parish. Some of the abuse occurred in his camper, which he had parked outside the church.

Wehmeyer pleaded guilty in November 2012 to sexual assault and child pornography charges in that case, and was sentenced in February 2013 to five years in prison. Wehmeyer, who is incarcerated at the state prison in Lino Lakes, will complete his prison term in Minnesota next year, and will serve his Wisconsin sentence after that.

The Wisconsin charges came to light in March of last year, when the victim came forward and told police that Wehmeyer assaulted him while they were on a camping trip together in 2011.

The man, who was 18 at the time, told a sheriff’s deputy that he and the priest were in a camper at Brunet Island State Park in Estella, Wisconsin, when Wehmeyer gave him alcohol and marijuana.

The teen fell asleep, and woke up later to find Wehmeyer in bed with him, touching his genitals.

According to a Chippewa County prosecutor, the victim in this case is the older brother of the two Minnesota boys Wehmeyer abused in 2010, the Star Tribune reports.

Pope Francis permanently removed Wehmeyer from the priesthood in March.

An MPR News investigation of the archdiocese’s handling of clergy sexual abuse claims disclosed that top local church officials were aware of Wehmeyer’s sexual compulsions for nearly a decade before he was charged, but they kept him in ministry and did not warn parishioners.

Those revelations led to criminal charges being filed against the archdiocese on June 5 for failing to protect children from Wehmeyer.

Ten days later, Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned from his position as leader of the local church, as did auxiliary Bishop Lee Piche.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda was appointed to the post on an interim basis until Pope Francis names a permanent replacement.

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