District Judge Marben Considering Arguments in Clergy Abuse Case 21 Sep 17

District Judge Kurt Marben is considering arguments in the case of a Northwest Minnesota clergy abuse victim, and accusations of forced secrecy and coercion by Bishop Michael Hoeppner, with the Catholic Diocese of Crookston.

During a hearing in Thief River Falls yesterday, the Diocese asked the court to dismiss portions of a civil complaint that alleges Bishop Hoeppner used intimidation to quell abuse allegations against Msgr. Roger Grundhaus. The allegations were brought by Ron Vasek, a parishioner in the the Tabor Area and Deacon Candidate who revealed the abuse to church officials, first in the Fargo Diocese, then to Bishop Hoeppner, who asked Vasek to conceal the accusations, even sign a retraction, saying the allegations would negatively impact Vasek and the career of Vasek’s son, Craig, at that time in holy orders and preparing for ordination.

That was 2010, and Vasek says he signed the letter to protect his son, now an ordained priest, but earlier this year Vasek decided to come forward, saying the practice of concealment must end, his own desire to become a Deacon in the clergy still unresolved.

In Pennington County District Court yesterday, Judge Marben was also asked to sanction a previous settlement in a related case, with attorney Jeff Anderson claiming the Diocese had failed to uphold a court order that was part of that settlement, mandating the release of the names of all clergy involved in credible abuse cases.

Grundhaus, who is now retired, is a native of Thief River Falls first ordained in 1966 and has served congregations all across the area, including, Euclid, Fertile, Tabor, Crookston, Bemidji, Stephen, Fisher, Gentilly, Halstad and Ada.