Vatican defrocks St. Paul priest convicted of sexually abusing two boys

Star Tribune, Minnesota/March 11, 2015

By Jean Hopeensperger

The Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer was convicted in 2013 of sexually abusing two boys.

The Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, a St. Paul priest convicted in 2013 of sexually abusing two boys at his church, has been permanently removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.

The decision bars Weh­meyer from presenting himself as a priest or “exercising priestly ministry,” according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, which made the announcement Wednesday.

It also bars him from teaching or taking a leadership role in any Catholic institution, the archdiocese said.

Wehmeyer is currently serving a five-year prison term in connection with the sexual abuse of two brothers in a camper parked outside Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul, where he lived and worked as the parish pastor.

He was also charged with possession of child pornography. The boys were age 12 and 14 at the time.

The priest had a history of attempted sexual encounters with young men, including approaching young men for sex at a local bookstore, but parishioners at Blessed Sacrament were not notified.

In November 2014, Wehmeyer faced additional charges — second-degree sexual assault of a teenage boy while on a camping trip to a Wisconsin state park.

“I am deeply saddened and have been profoundly affected by the stories I continue to hear from victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” said Archbishop John Nienstedt in a written statement.

“My focus, and the focus of the Archdiocese, is to do all we can to keep children safe while offering resources for help and healing.”

Advocates for children abused by clergy said the archdiocese should never have allowed Wehmeyer to serve as a priest at Blessed Sacrament, given his history.

“Nienstedt should personally go to every parish where Wehmeyer worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistle-blowers to call police and prosecutors, so that he might be charged with more child sex crimes and kept away from kids,” said Frank Meuers, of the Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“Until that happens, we can take little comfort in the belated defrocking of this predator.”

Wehmeyer also served as associate pastor at St. Joseph in West St. Paul and pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle in St. Paul.

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