Priest abuse case: Prosecutor plans follow-up

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Ramsey County Attorney John Choi says he is planning to follow up with St. Paul Police after an MPR investigation indicated that Catholic church leaders had not been forthcoming about a priest's sexual misconduct, MPR reports.

MPR's investigation found that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did not remove Curtis Wehmeyer from the ministry, despite knowing about his sexual misbehavior. MPR reports that church leaders knew of Wehmeyer's sexual compulsions for a decade.

The report also notes that the archdiocese had sought to publicly advance a story about church officials being immediately responsive to allegations of abuse by Wehmeyer. But interviews and documents reviewed by MPR seem to prove otherwise.

Wehmeyer, who was a pastor at Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul, is now serving a five-year prison sentence in St. Cloud, after pleading guilty to abuse of two brothers, ages 12 and 14. He was sentenced in February.

Choi said there may be lingering issues for police to pursue. Among the questions raised by the MPR investigation: Did the church deliberately keep abuse allegations hidden from parishioners?

In response to the MPR investigation, first reported Monday, the archdiocese issued a four-paragraph statement. In part, it acknowledged, "In hindsight and in light of what we now know, we also recognize that our handling of past concerns could have been better addressed." The statement also directs anyone who has been abused in the church's ministry to contact police.

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