On Wednesday, May 21st, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and Hastings Police Chief Byran Schafer, held a press conference in connections with charges against Francis Hoefgen. Hoefgen, a former Catholic Priest that served in Hastings was charged with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree in connection with allegations that he repeatedly sexually abused a former altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings from the Spring of 1989 to the Fall of 1991. The victim would have been between 9 and 12 yeas old at the time. Here is Dakota County Attorney, James Backstrom, with some of his opening comments.
Backstrom briefly talks about Hoefgan’s first court appearance on May 21st.
Auxiliary Bishop, Andrew H. Cozzens, from the Acrchdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis released this statement via email, regarding Francis Hoefgen:
“Hoefgen is a former Benedictine religious order priest of St. Johns Abbey who was assigned at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Hastings until 1992, when he left parish ministry. St. Johns Abbey permanently removed him from ministry in 2002. Hoefgen left the priesthood when he was laicized in December 2011. In accord with our new policies, the archdiocese had disclosed his name and ministry assignments on its website in 2013.
We have notified leaders at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish of the charges. They, in turn, have notified their school and office staff.The parish community had already been made aware of the abuse accusation against Hoefgen.
I am deeply saddened and angered whenever I hear about the crimeof a priest abusing a child. I hope the victim will find help and healing, and justice will be served in our court system.
The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis encourages anyone who has been abused to contact law enforcement.”