Ramsey Co Attorney John Choi will not file charges against archdiocese in Wehmeyer case
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi
Authorities say they cannot prove that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis violated mandatory reporting requirements in connection with convicted former priest Curtis Wehmeyer.
No charges will be filed against church officials in this instance, though Ramsey County Attorney John Choi told reporters Wednesday that he's "troubled" by other cases that have come to his office. He vowed that this is "only the beginning" of their investigations.
Wehmeyer is now serving time in St. Cloud prison. Church officials first contacted police in 2012 with reports that Wehmeyer may have sexually abused two boys while serving as pastor of Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul. The archdiocese claims to have taken quick and decisive action, but an in-depth MPR report suggests that it was aware of the allegations as early as 2004.
St. Paul police complained last year that clergy gave Wehmeyer a day's head start on police, which allowed him to hide evidence -- a point that came up during a Wednesday press conference and that Choi refused to address. But he did not rule out the possibility of obstruction of justice charges.
Choi said the head start did not have a negative impact on St. Paul police investigations, to which Chief Tom Smith added, "Were my investigators happy? No, they weren't."
Only a month ago, Smith chastised the archdiocese for being completely uncooperative with his investigators. A meeting was held the following day, in which Smith later described as "amiable."
"This is the first case presented to our official and there will be more," Choi said. "I suspect this will be an ongoing conversation with our community and I do expect you to hold us accountable and ask questions."
He also encouraged potential victims to come forward no matter how old the allegations.
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