MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has launched a new criminal investigation into how top officials at the Twin Cities Archdiocese handled the case of a convicted pedophile priest.
Curtis Wehmeyer is currently serving a five-year prison term for molesting a child, exposing himself to another child and possessing child pornography while he was a pastor at St. Paul’s Blessed Sacrament Church. He also faces sexual assault charges in a separate case in Wisconsin.
In January 2014, the Ramsey County Attorney announced there would not be any charges against top church leaders over how they handled the Wehmeyer case.
But WCCO sources now say the County Attorney has been re-interviewing witnesses in recent weeks about Wehmeyer’s activities at a church he worked at before Blessed Sacrament.
From 2001 to 2006, Wehmeyer was an associate pastor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, which also has a school in West St. Paul.
For much of that time, his supervisor and pastor was Father Lee Piche — now Bishop Piche, the No. 2 official in the Twin Cities Archdiocese.
Investigators have been asking potential witnesses what Piche and other top church officials knew about Wehmeyer’s sexual misconduct history.
What the Archdiocese knew and when they knew it is documented in a 2014 civil lawsuit filed by attorney Jeff Anderson:
- In 2004, the archdiocese knew that Wehmeyer had approached two young adults for sex at the Roseville Barnes and Noble.
- In 2006, the archdiocese knew Wehmeyer had been stopped by Ramsey County deputies on suspicion of cruising for sex in Keller Park in Maplewood.
- In 2009-10, the archdiocese received three separate reports of Wehmeyer behaving suspiciously with young boys.
- In 2009, there was also a report that Wehmeyer approached another priest for sex.
- Also in 2009, Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to a DWI and was sentenced to three days of electronic home monitoring. According to the lawsuit, the initial call to police on the DWI was that Wehmeyer was intoxicated and trying to pick up teenagers.
In 2009, the Archdiocese promoted Wehmeyer to pastor at Blessed Sacrament and he remained as pastor until his 2012 arrest.
The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said they could not comment on ongoing cases.
The Archdiocese told WCCO Thursday night they are aware of the investigation into Wehmeyer’s history and have been cooperating fully with St. Paul Police and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.
The Archdiocese statement also said because it is an ongoing investigation, “it would be a disservice to all involved to comment further.” The statement was made by Michael Campion, Assistant Director of the Office of Ministerial Standards.