The bishop of the Diocese of Crookston has resigned per request of the Vatican for allegedly covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest in his Diocese.
Bishop Richard Pates from the Emeritus Des Moines was named Apostolic Administrator by Pope Francis to temporarily replace Bishop Michael Hoeppner.
The investigation, supervised by the Metropolitan Archbishop, began four years ago and “arose from reports that he [Hoeppner] at times failed to observe applicable norms when presented with allegations of sexual abuse involving clergy.”
Hoeppner is accused of stating that a priest was fit for ministry despite knowing that the priest abused a 16-year-old boy in the early 1970s.
The investigation was conducted pursuant to the Vatican’s recently established guidelines for handling sexual abuse allegations of clergy members.
The motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi was decreed by the Pope in mid-2019.
Hoeppner is the first to be investigated under these new guidelines.
St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Bemidji is a parish of the Crookston Diocese.