News Release: Coercion Claim Against Crookston Bishop Hoeppner Settled—Letter Released as Part of Settlement

Letter Hoeppner Coerced Vasek to Sign in 2015 Released as Part of the Settlement

(St. Paul, MN) – Ron Vasek settled his coercion claim against Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner this week.  As part of the settlement, Vasek received a copy of the letter the Bishop coerced him into signing in 2015 retracting his statement that he had been abused by Msgr. Roger Grundhaus when he was 16 years old.

Vasek’s attorney, Jeff Anderson, said for Ron this case was about exposing the truth.  “Ron suffered in silence and shame. He brought this lawsuit against the Bishop to reveal the truth: that the Bishop used his powers to conceal clergy abuse and protect priests instead of survivors,” said Anderson.

The attached letter, dated October 21, 2015, is written on Office of the Bishop letterhead and states:

I, Ron Vasek, regarding a trip I was on when I was 16 years old, and on which a priest of the Diocese of Crookston was also participating, clearly and freely state that I have no desire to nor do I make any accusation of sexual impropriety by the priest toward me.

The letter confirms Vasek’s meeting with Bishop Hoeppner in 2015 and that Vasek was forced to sign something he did not want to sign.  “When Ron revealed the abuse, the Bishop forced him to keep quiet to protect Grundhaus and the Diocese,” Anderson said. “This letter reveals that the cover-up and concealment is still happening in the Diocese of Crookston despite all the promises, pledges, and words of the Bishop.  Ron Vasek came forward so this concealment would stop.”

Vasek also brought negligence and nuisance claims against the Diocese of Crookston regarding the abuse which were not a part of the settlement and remain active.