Woman says she sought spiritual guidance from Maplewood priest, got seduced instead
A woman who went to the Reverend Mark Huberty seeking spiritual guidance wound up in a sexual relationship with the priest instead, according to her account of events.
Huberty, a priest at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood, took a leave of absence last month after the accusations first went public. In Minnesota, it's a crime for a priest to engage in sexual relations with someone "during the course of a meeting in which the [victim] sought or received religious or spiritual advice, or comfort from the [clergy member] in private," so it's possible Huberty could yet face charges.
The Pioneer Press, citing a recently disclosed search warrant affidavit, details how Huberty allegedly seduced the woman after he agreed to become her spiritual advisor in 2011.
The priest continued to counsel the woman while participating in events with her and her family in 2012. In January 2013, Huberty asked to meet with her.
"He explained to her that he was lonely and asked her to be his 'friend.' (She) agreed," the affidavit said. The next day, Huberty set up a private email account and asked her to correspond with him there, rather than on his church account.
They went on "outings," sometimes alone, sometimes with others.
The woman told police that on three or four occasions, Huberty took off his pants and asked her to stimulate him. They went through sexual motions with her clothes remaining on, the affidavit said.
On April 11, the woman and Huberty argued. She recorded a phone conversation between them, in which she says, "And everybody that you have done this with is just darn happily back at the church with you saying Mass?"
Huberty responds, "As far as I know, any people I've been involved with are still fully part of the life of the church, and whatever I've done with them has not caused irreparable harm to their marriages, um," the search warrant affidavit says.
The woman later informed police of the relationship and turned over the pertinent phone and email records.
In an email to the PiPress, Huberty's lawyer, Paul Engh, wrote that the priest "has a markedly different perspective as to what happened." He didn't elaborate.
Just days ago, St. Paul police reopened a child porn investigation involving another Twin Cities priest, the Reverend John Shelley, so it hasn't been a good news cycle for the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul, to say the least.
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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