MN--Crookston bishop ignores two predators
For immediate release: Monday, April 6, 2015
For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Verne Wagner 218-340-1277, email@example.com
Victims blast Crookston bishop
He’s hiding the name of two predators
One is a now-defrocked priest who was convicted of child porn
The other admitted sexual misdeeds & was sent to Twin Cities
But neither were mentioned when diocese released accused priests
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is blasting Crookston’s Catholic bishop for ignoring two diocesan priests who are “credibly accused” abusers when he released the names of abusive clerics weeks ago.
In January, Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner acknowledged that six northwestern Minnesota priests have faced “credible” allegations of child sexual abuse or crimes and disclosed their names.
But he neglected to name Fr. Rick Boyd, who was convicted in 1984 of “possessing hundreds of items, including about 20 magazines, plus photos and albums, of teenage boys younger than 18 engaged in sex,” in what one source called “the “largest collection of child pornography uncovered in the upper Midwest.” And he made no mention of Fr. Gerald K. “Jerry” Foley, who admitted to sexual misconduct in the 1970s and 1980s with women in his pastoral care, including one who was 'as young as 17.'
Yet Boyd worked in ministry until 2003, a year after the so-called “one-strike” policy was adopted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. And Foley, despite his admitted sexual misconduct, was transferred in 1985 from the Diocese of Crookston to the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis, where he was a chaplain at St Joseph Hospital in St Paul until about 2004.
SNAP discovered the Hoeppner’s omission of Boyd last week when a prominent Twin Cities Catholic whistleblower alluded to the case on her blog but did not name Boyd specifically. The whistleblower, Dr. Jennifer Haselberger, worked for the Crookston Diocese from 2006-2008, directing its “Safe Environment Program.” A canon lawyer, she also worked for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Fargo.
On her blog last week, Haselberger wrote of “a situation of which I was a part in 2005 and 2006, and which led to the ex officio dismissal of a priest for crimes involving sexual abuse of a minor.” She says the priest
--“was removed from ministry in 2005 as a result of charges to which he had previously pleaded guilty in civil court,”
--“was, at the time of his removal he was a 'person of interest' to the FBI because of an ongoing investigation into his more recent conduct,”
--“was sent to Saint Luke's Institute (in Maryland) for an evaluation,”
--was deemed “a fairly high risk for reoffending,” and
--was urged to undergo “an extended period of inpatient therapy.”
But Haselberger writes that the cleric rejected that recommendation and “seemingly disappeared.”
Based on news accounts and court records, SNAP believes this priest is Boyd.
According to one news source, around 2007, Boyd was living in the Twin Cities.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Boyd “completed two years of probation and six-months of treatment at a Catholic facility, took an indefinite leave of absence and resigned from a parish in 2003, and was defrocked by the Vatican. As of 2007, Boyd's appeal of that decision was pending” but it’s unclear whether that ruling has been finalized.
“Shame on Bishop Hoeppner for pretending to be ‘open’ when in fact he was protecting and is still protecting a convicted child sex offender,” said Verne Wagner of Duluth, SNAP’s northern Minnesota director. “The bishop owes Crookston parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public deserve an explanation for his deceit.”
“In light of these glaring omissions, we can’t help but wonder how many other potentially dangerous priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians and other church workers Crookston Catholic officials might be concealing,” said Wagner.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Foley had been Director of Crookston's Catholic Social Services Association, and for a year or two in the late 1970s he was the Executive Director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, based in Des Moines IA.
The accused Crookston priests whose names were released in January included:
--Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul, who was accused of “multiple occasions of sexual assault” of a teenage girl. (Criminal charges are still pending against him.)
--Fr. Stanley Bourassa, who worked in Red Lake Falls, Crookston, Bemidji, East Grand Forks, St. Lawrence, Barnsville and Sabin.
--Fr. Henry Carriere, who worked in Crookston, Fertile, Bemidji, Argyle, Guthrie, Laporte, Brooks, Plummer, Terrebone, Argyle and Badger.
--Fr. Vincent Fitzgerald, who worked in Kelliher, Shooks, Naytahwaush, Big Elbow Lake and White Earth.
--Fr. Francis Reid, who worked in Crookston, Bemidji, Argyle, Thief River Falls, Waubun, Akeley, Nevis, Ponsford, Mahnomen, Park Rapids, Two Inlets and Lake Itasca.
--Fr. James Porter, who worked in Bemidji.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.