Pope Praises US Bishops' Response To Abuse, Angering VictimsPope Francis praised American bishops Wednesday for their "generous commitment'" to helping victims of clergy sex abuse, drawing an angry rebuke from advocates who said the bishops acted only under the threat of hundreds of lawsuits. Addressing church leaders in a prayer service at the Washington cathedral, Francis said they had faced the crisis "without fear of self-criticism and at the cost of mortification and great sacrifice."
Father Eckroth Is Laid To Rest, While New Documents Shed Disturbing LightA retired St. John's Abbey priest accused of sexually abusing children is dead. The law office of Jeff Anderson and Associates announced Friday that Father Richard Eckroth passed away this week at the age of 88.
Former St. Paul Schools Custodian Gets 10 Years For Child Sex AbuseA former St. Paul Public Schools custodian was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing several young children, including members of his family. Walter Johann Happel, 63, struck a plea deal in March after pleading guilty to one count of surreptitious invasion of privacy, after he spied on an 11-year-old boy in Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School student bathroom.
Fmr. School Worker Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Abuse A former St. Paul elementary school custodian pleaded guilty Thursday to charges connected to the sexual abuse of several children – including family members – and the invasion of student privacy. Walter Johann Happel, 63, appeared tired in court Thursday, where he pleading guilty to five charges.
New Evidence Presented At Janitor's Child Sex Abuse HearingA judge is hearing new evidence Friday in the case against a school janitor accused of inappropriate behavior with several students Walter Happel, 62, was charged back in March after police say he was caught peeking at an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School in St. Paul last February. He resigned soon after.
Convicted Child Molester Charged With Abusing Another Foster ChildAfter 20 years, a woman is accusing her foster parent of sexually abusing her when she was a child. The Scott County Attorney's office has charged 59-year-old Daniel Alvin Hennen with six counts of criminal sexual conduct. He is now out on bond. Detectives say Hennen ran a foster care service with his wife, Connie Hennen, out of his home in Jordan for several years in the 80s and 90s.
Self-Professed Minister Now On Most Wanted ListThe U.S. Marshals Service has added a self-professed minister accused of sexually abusing young girls in rural Minnesota to its 15 Most Wanted Fugitives list. Fifty-three-year-old Victor Barnard is charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two members of a "Maidens Group" within a church he led called the River Road Fellowship.
Twin Cities Archdiocese, Vatican Accused Of Destroying Priest Child Porn TapesThere are new allegations that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis destroyed as many as five suspected child porn videos -- and that the Vatican knew what happened. This latest allegation involving the Twin Cities Catholic Church comes as a direct result of a landmark agreement between the church and victims. The agreement has resulted in more names of priests, suspected of sexual abuse against a minor, being released.
Hopes Of Catholic Church Reform Rise After DealThe landmark clergy abuse settlement announced Monday buoyed hopes for reform in Minnesota's Catholic church, but it leaves unanswered questions about what comes next for survivors, church finances and future transparency. The settlement was the result of a novel lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona from nationally prominent clergy abuse attorney Jeff Anderson.
Mpls. Man Charged With Drugging, Sexually Abusing GirlA Minneapolis man faces multiple criminal sexual conduct charges after allegedly drugging and molesting a 10-year-old girl during a sleepover. According to the criminal complaint, 39-year-old Ezra David Taylor hosted a sleepover for his daughter and two of her friends at his residence on the 3500 block of Colfax Avenue on Aug. 2.
Dakota Co. Att'y Investigating St. Paul School DistrictThe Dakota County attorney's office is looking into whether St. Paul school district staffers broke the law by not reporting allegations against a custodian now charged with sexual misconduct.
Former St. Paul Janitor Facing More Allegations Of Child Sex AbuseA former custodian at a St. Paul school is facing more accusations of inappropriate behavior with students. Walter Happel, 62, was charged on March 20 after police said he was caught peeking at an 11-year-old boy in a bathroom at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School.