Minneapolis, Minn., Jun 5, 2015 / 16:35 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese has pledged cooperation amid charges of mishandling allegations against a former priest of sexual misconduct involving children.
“We deeply regret the abuse that was suffered by the victims of Curtis Wehmeyer and are grieved for all victims of sexual abuse,” Bishop Andrew Cozzens, an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese, said June 5.
“We all share the same goal: to provide safe environments for all children in our churches and in our communities,” he added.
Bishop Cozzens said the archdiocese will continue to cooperate with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.
The archdiocese on Friday was served with civil and criminal complaints that it failed to protect children from former Curtis Wehmeyer. The criminal charges total six misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $3,000 each, the New York Times reports.
In 2013 Wehmeyer was convicted to five years in prison for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography. He was convicted of abusing two boys while a pastor at a church in St. Paul, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. He also faces sex crimes charges in Wisconsin.
In March 2015, the archdiocese announced that the Vatican had dismissed Wehmeyer from the clerical state. The former priest is now 50 years old.
Ramsey County prosecutor John J. Choi, said the criminal charges focused on the archdiocese’s handling of “numerous and repeated reports of troubling content” by the former priest.
Choi said church officials failed to follow their own restrictions and that other reports about the man’s behavior were “ignored, minimized or not shared.”
Choi said archdiocesan officials have been cooperative with his office’s requests.