2015 May

May 29, 2015: News Release: Father Richard Eckroth, O.S.B. Leaves Trail of Shattered Lives

It was reported that St. John’s priest Richard Eckroth, who was retired and living at St. John’s Abbey for years, died this week. It must also be noted that Eckroth had a long history of predatory conduct that shattered the lives and souls of innocent children whose numbers are yet to be known. The number of kids Eckroth abused could exceed 100. What is known is that Eckroth was a serial offender that had been described by at least one Abbot as dangerous. What is also known is that Eckroth was given cover for many of those years by top St. John’s officials.  Our firm currently represents …

May 27, 2015: Jeff Anderson Statement on Recent Acquittal of Former Hastings Priest Francis Hoefgen

(St. Paul, MN) – The acquittal of Fran Hoefgen in the criminal case is sad, scary and a travesty of justice.  The jury returned a verdict of not guilty because they were not able to know and hear the full picture of predatory conduct well-established by Fran Hoefgen.  Today we release more information that the jury did not hear that could have and should have changed the outcome.  Because they did not learn Fran Hoefgen abused at least two boys, had been sent to treatment for it, had admitted having abused at least one boy in prior parishes and given a free pass by a former pros…

May 07, 2015: Alarming Arrest of Hibbing Priest for Child Sexual Abuse

We are deeply troubled to learn of the arrest of a priest in the Diocese of Duluth, Fr. Brian M. Lederer, Hibbing, Minn., on expected charges of sexual abuse of children.  The sexual abuse of children among clergy is a real and present danger.  Although the Catholic Church may argue that the scourge of clerical childhood sexual abuse is a thing of the past, the arrest of Lederer and more recent cases such as Curtis Wehmeyer in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Shawn Ratigan in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph tell us otherwise…

May 07, 2015: Former St. Paul School Janitor Sentenced to 10 Years for Serial Sexual Abuse of Students

Former Lindwood Arts School Janitor Walter Happel was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for sexually abusing numerous children over the course of 30 years.  We applaud the courageous survivors who came forward and spoke the truth in order to see justice done.  Happel was convicted of three counts of criminal sexual conduct for his sexual abuse of minors.  We are alarmed and saddened whenever students are sexually abused by a school employee.   When serial predators work with unsupervised access to children in an elementary school, a very dangerous risk is posed…