The Ramsey county prosecutor, John J. Choi on Friday, 5th June, has announced that the State will be filling criminal charges against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the mishandling of sexual abuses against minor boys involving a priest from 2008 – 2010, New York Times reports.
The charges and accompanying civil petition stemmed from 3 men victims who were underage boys at the time of the sexual abuses where they alleged that a local priest with the name of Curtis Wehmeyer plied them with drugs and alcohol before sexually assaulting them. The incidents ran from 2008 – 2010.
“Today, we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” Mr. Choi said in a statement.
The accusation came amid the most stringent reforms involving sexual abuses announced by the Vatican but the Archdiocese handling of the complaints relating to the 3 men were contrary to the stated reforms.
Wehmeyer, 50, who was dismissed as a priest in March and subsequently sentenced to 5 years in a Minnesota prison in 2013 for criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography, has also been charged with sex crimes in Wisconsin.
According to the facts of the case, Wehmeyer was a known sexual offender before he entered priesthood and while he was a novice at the seminary, there were complaints from parishioners and fellow priests about his predatory sexual behavior but was scantly regarded by the hierarchy. Despite complaints and suspicions made known to the hierarchy, he was ordained as a priest in 2001.
Among other unethical practices made known to the hierarchy include using the boys bathroom instead of the staff restroom, taking boys to tour the priests’ rectory which is against the church policies and taking boys on camping trips where some of the abuses took place. All these unethical practices were overlooked by the hierarchy despite facts made known to them, the indictment documents said.
“The archdiocese’s failures have caused great suffering by the victims and their families” the prosecutor said in the statement.
According to traumatic stress expert and child psychiatrist Bessel Van Der Kok, a childhood trauma can have a lifelong ramification on the mental health of the person and even cause their brain to be wired differently in response to fear, Sound Medicine.Org explained.
A victim of childhood sexual abuse usually ends up with alcohol or substance abuse and eventual early death due to the poor quality of lives from impaired mental health, according to the Center of Disease Control, US Government.