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Arrest Of Hibbing-Based Priest Brian Michael Lederer

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Brian Michael Lederer,  an associate pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hibbing, was arrested this week and charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, and two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree.  It will be interesting to see how the case turns out and how different it will be from the treatment of accused pastors in the past.

The case is being brought in  St. Louis County under a statute which allows for criminal charges when the accused is  in a position of authority over the complainant. The defense that is used will be interesting to see whether they challenge the statute itself.

Lederer was ordained in June 2012 and is parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hibbing, the Diocese of Duluth confirmed in a statement Wednesday afternoon:


(statement from the Diocese of Duluth Communications Office)

We are continuing to closely monitor the situation involving Father Brian Lederer. We’ve also been in contact with the civil authorities to offer them our full cooperation in their investigation.

In light of the serious allegations against him and in keeping with our safe environment policies and procedures, Father Lederer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the legal process. While on leave, he is not allowed to minister as a priest and or have contact with anyone under age 18.

Much still remains unknown, and we continue to learn about the circumstances that led to Father Lederer’s arrest. Diocesan officials were not aware of any allegations against him prior to his arrest.

“We are all saddened by these events and especially for anyone who may have been hurt by sexual abuse,” said Father James Bissonette, vicar general of the diocese. “We remain absolutely committed to assisting victims, to ensuring justice is done and to doing all in our power to make our parishes and schools safe places for children.”

On behalf of the parish family, we ask all to pray that God’s healing grace and boundless mercy prevail in this matter for all involved. 

Lederer is accused of sexual misconduct with three females under the age of 16, including one who came forward following his arrest. He was taken into custody Tuesday evening in his office. Assumption School Principal John Schlachter confirmed Thursday that parents were notified of Lederer’s arrest Wednesday via the school’s parent notification system.
On the Blessed Sacrament Parish website Lederer is identified as:
Father Brian Lederer Associate
and as involved with:

Becoming Catholic (RCIA)

The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) provides instruction for those desiring to become Catholic. From Church Tradition, to dogma, to the sacraments, questions about the faith are answered.

Adults who wish to become Catholic, Catholics who have not been confirmed, and those who want to know more about this faith of ours are invited to attend. New Catholics are brought into the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday.

Classes meet at 6:00 p.m. on Monday evenings from October through May. Please call Fr. Brian Lederer  for more information.

A frustrating part of past horrific  incidents is that while the Child Victims Act has allowed for Minnesotans to find justice through civil claims,  there are very few admitted pedophiles who have or will ever face criminal charges.   Past cases  where handled with admissions,  small payments made for damages,  and then prosecutors who choose not to send the offenders to prison.   Sometimes there was  a trip to treatment for “alcohol abuse”

In Dakota County,  there is the case of Former St. John’s Abbey Monk Francis Hoefgen who was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abusing a boy who was between 9 and 12 years old  from 1989 to 1992 at Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (formerly St. Boniface)  in Hastings . This charge is rare.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.