MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s new information and a new lawsuit focused on clergy sex abuse.
The new information reveals the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did not go public for decades about a priest at St. Bartholomew’s church in Wayzata had taken pornographic pictures of boys and sexually molested at least one of them.
Also Monday, five archdiocese internal files were made public that detail how the archdiocese withheld information on accused priests — sometimes for decades.
The new lawsuit is brought by two individuals who say they were just 8 and 10 when Father Richard Eckroth brought them to a cabin and sexually assaulted them in the early 1970s.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of claims that Eckroth brought young boys and girls to a cabin near Bemidji in the early 1970s and sexually assaulted them.
Eckroth is now 87 and still lives at St. John’s Abbey.
“Sorting out the truth of allegations against Fr. Eckroth is complicated by his advanced dementia. We will cooperate to seek the truth as we have in the past,” an Abbey representative said.
One of the new files released allegations against Father Robert Blumeyer.
On man, Lloyd Van Fleet, was 14 in 1969 when he says Blumeyer, a priest at St Bartholomew’s Church in Wayzata, befriended him, took nude pictures of him and sexually molested him.
“He started performing oral and exploring other parts of my body,” Fleet said. “He stole my childhood.”
In 2006, Fleet says he received a $100,000 settlement from St. John’s.
Another released file details how Father Cosmas Dahlheimer was moved by the Archdiocese to a different parish after he was accused in the 1970s. And another file details allegations against Father Fran Hoefgren, who WCCO tried to interview in 2011. Hoefgen ran from our camera.
Blumeyer and Dahlheimer are dead and WCCO was unable to reach Hoefgen.
The archdiocese and St. John’s say the priests named in these files and this lawsuit have all been on lists of accused priests for at least a decade.
WEB EXTRA: Files Pertaining To Lawsuit
Summons Filed In Stearns County
Brennan Maiers: File, Timeline
Cosmas Dahlheimer: File, Timeline
Francis Hoefgen: File, Timeline
Robert Blumeyer: File, Timeline
Thomas Gillespie: File, Timeline
Richard Eckroth: Timeline