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Report: Document indicates accused priest faced allegations a decade ago

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When a Maplewood priest was charged earlier this month with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, officials with the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said they had only learned of the allegations against the priest recently.

MPR News reports that an internal church document says that a church official flagged Rev. Mark Huberty for sexual misconduct a decade ago. The report said Huberty's misconduct involved women and that he remains as an active priest. It does not include any other information and the archdiocese's code of conduct forbids sexual contact by priests.

Rev. Huberty has served as a priest at the church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood since 2007.

MPR reports Huberty's attorney, Paul Engh said, "The complaint was made by the woman's husband over a decade ago. When interviewed thereafter, the parishioner indicated that nothing inappropriate had occurred between her and Father Huberty. The matter was thus closed."

Huberty was charged earlier this month for an alleged sexual relationship with a woman under his pastoral care.

Maplewood Deputy Police Chief Dave Kvam told MPR that Huberty's clergy personnel file included information about past allegations.

The archdiocese said last week after Huberty was charged that they only had learned of the accusations in August. The statement says that Huberty was placed on leave from the active ministry on Sept. 19.

According to charges, Huberty met a woman in 2008 while she was struggling with her faith after the death of a family member. He agreed to be her spiritual adviser. The two allegedly met in person, talked on the telephone and exchanged text messages and e-mails. He asked her to be his friend in January and indicated the only touching could happen above the waist and with clothes on.

However, the contact allegedly went beyond that. According to charges, Huberty would remove his pants so she could touch his genitals.

It is against the law in Minnesota for priests to have sexual conduct with anyone under their pastoral care. A recent ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court, cleared the way for the charges against Huberty. The 4-1 ruling found a state law that bars clergy members from having sex with people they counsel constitutional.

Huberty said that he denied the allegations when he announced his leave of absence to parishioners in September.

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