A priest from California has pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity with a Twin Cities woman for whom he was conducting mass in Mendota Heights.
Jacob Andrew Bertrand, 35, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. As part of the plea deal, the second count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct will be dismissed. His sentencing is scheduled for May 7.
According to the criminal complaint, the two met in 2009 in Rome while they were studying spirituality and he was a deacon. In June 2010, the woman and Bertrand flew to San Diego where he was ordained as a priest. The next month, in July, Bertrand visited the woman in Mendota Heights, where she lived.
At one point during his trip to Minnesota, Bertrand and the woman engaged in a private mass in the basement of her home, where they also had sexual contact.
After the ceremony, Bertrand told the woman that it was so "mystical" they should not talk about it to others.
The woman told officials of the Catholic Church about the sexual contact in 2012 and 2014. In 2014, the report was forwarded to the San Diego Diocese for investigation.
In November 2014, Bertrand told his parishioners in a bulletin that he had undergone a psychological evaluation and was taking a leave of absence at a residential program. He is now on leave of absence from the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.