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Even among key boards and top decisionmakers, abuse complaints often went unknown, the report said. For example, Wehmeyer, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct involving two minor boys in November 2012, had a long history of sexual misconduct that went unreported to the Clergy Review Board, the report said.
Between 2004 and 2009, Wehmeyer “was observed engaging in sexual banter with young men in a Roseville bookstore; questioned by police when they saw him ‘cruising’ at a Maplewood park … and arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DWI) in Spring Valley,” the report said. Even after the archdiocese began monitoring him, and began receiving reports that Wehmeyer was camping with boys, “no one alerted the Promoter [of Ministerial Standards] or the Clergy Review Board. Indeed, the Wehmeyer case never came before the Board.”
The task force made a half-dozen recommendations. They included creating:
• An improved auditing and monitoring program for priests being monitored because of misconduct.
• A centralized record-keeping system on clergy abuse that is accessible to all decisionmakers.
• New policies on disposing of computers and other electronic communication used by clergy.
“We hope the Archdiocese moves forward with these recommendations as quickly as possible,” the report said.
Victims’ advocates were not impressed with the report.
“As long as we act like these are ‘mistakes’ and not intentional, self-serving choices by smart but selfish men, kids will continue being hurt and crimes will continue being concealed,” said Barbara Dorris, national outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511