Former St. John’s Abbey Monk Francis Hoefgen was arrested this past week and charged with the two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly abusing a boy who was between 9 and 12 years old. It will be interesting to see how the case turns out as it is based on claims that he repeatedly sexually abused an altar boy from 1989 to 1992 at Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church (formerly St. Boniface) in Hastings .
Before the assignment in Hastings , Hoefgen was assigned to St. Boniface of Cold Spring, where he admitted to police that he sexually abused a 17-year-old boy. He was never charged in that case. Hoefgen was sent to St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring, MD and stayed for about six months where he was said to have received some sort of treatment. Hoefgen was removed from the ministry in 2002 and left the St. John’s Benedictine order in 2012. Hoefgen was working at a funeral home in Minneapolis.
The case is being brought in Dakota county under a statute which allows for criminal charges to be filed within three years of the abuse being reported to law enforcement. The defense that is used will be interesting to see whether they challenge the timeline or the statute itself.
A frustrating part of these horrific incidents is that while the Child Victims Act has allowed for Minnesotans to find justice through civil claims, there are very few of these admitted pedophiles who have or will ever face criminal charges. To read about past cases where there were admissions, payments made for damages, and then prosecutors who choose not to send the offenders to prison.
Hoefgen has been on a number of lists that have been disclosed in the state. What is interesting is the difference in disclosures:
Francis Hoefgen, OSB: St. Bonface, Cold Spring; St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph. Laicized. Address unknown
Just released a name.
Date of birth: 8/1/1950 (Age 63)
Date of ordination: 1979
Cleric’s prior assignments in archdiocese:
- St. Boniface, Cold Spring, 1980-1984;
- Associate priest, St. Boniface, Hastings, 1985-1992;
- Confessor, Villa Maria Center, Frontenac, 1985-1994
Diocese or religious order: Order of St. Benedict, St. John’s Abbey
Date permanently removed from ministry: 2002
Current location: Columbia Heights, Minn.
Current status: Left order and laicized in 2012
Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is the only one that has release, allbeit heavily redacted,of files concerning the time he was there. Hopefully, the others come forward and make sure all of the information is out there as this case moves along.
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.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.