Archdiocese Kept Lid on Minn. Priest's Sex 'Compulsions'

Curtis Wehmeyer was allowed to keep working
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2013 12:01 PM CDT
Archdiocese Kept Lid on Minn. Priest's Sex 'Compulsions'
Church officials in St. Paul and Minneapolis turned a blind eye to a priest's child abuse, a report finds.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis made it clear that once officials heard about a priest's abuse of two boys, they went straight to law enforcement. Trouble is, the archdiocese actually knew about what Minnesota Public Radio calls Curtis Wehmeyer's "sexual compulsions" for almost a decade—but officials kept the matter quiet. "At every step of the way, this could have been prevented," says a canon lawyer who has since resigned.

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Wehmeyer was sentenced to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty last year to sexually abusing a pair of brothers. Yet in a 2011 memo published by MPR, the archbishop's deputy suggests keeping concerns over Wehmeyer's behavior secret from those "in his workplace." Around the same time, the deputy, Rev. Kevin McDonough, was reassuring parishioners that the church was a bastion against such behavior (read MPR's full investigation). Related news today from the highest levels of the church: Pope emeritus Benedict XVI says he didn't act to cover up priest child abuse, Reuters reports. Writes the pontiff in a letter:

  • As to "the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things."
(Read more Minnesota stories.)

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