I met with Fr. O’Connell and Andrew Ritten at about 4:00 P.M. at the Dunn Brothers coffee shop on Loring Park. I thanked him for meeting me and mentioned that up to that point, Fr. Kevin McDonough and Fr. Dale Korogi had not been willing to meet with me. I asked if he would start us with a prayer and he did. Then I told him I wanted to start the meeting assuming we were brothers and asked if we could exchange some personal history. I also asked if Mr. Ritten was a Catholic brother or if he was acting as his attorney. Mr. Ritten said they did not have an attorney-client relationship. After we exchanged “biographies,” Fr. O’Connell and I did almost all of the talking. I explained a couple of stories about my sons, one of whom went to a priest in northeast Minneapolis asking for a spiritual advisor a few months before. He was referred to Fr. Fran Hoefgen, a St. John’s priest who had admitted abuse of a fifteen-year-old in a counseling situation many years ago. There had been a big story about him in the Pioneer Press questioning the fact that he wasn’t prosecuted. My son felt something wasn’t quite right and Googled his name and got the story. My other son, who had not been to Mass in a long time, went to the Basilica just in time to hear a sermon from Fr. O’Connell that lambasted the Church’s teaching on the intrinsic disorder of homosexuality. I then told him that several men who had been in the seminary had told me in convincing detail that they had been abused by Msgr. Jerome Boxleitner, who still lives on the orphanage grounds. A patient of mine had also told me that it was well-known among staff members that Msgr. Boxleitner took young boys from the orphanage up to his cabin. By young boys they meant teenagers. When I asked Fr. O’Connell if he thought there was a problem with the situation I had described, he said he didn’t see much to be done about it. Then Mr. Ritten said that if what I had said about Fr. Boxleitner is true, he thought there was a real problem. I asked Fr. O’Connell if he knew the truth of my statements. He asked if I knew what position he had at that time (Vicar General). I said I did. He then said I would know why he couldn’t say anything about the matter.
December 14, 2005
The Spotless Bride and the Scattered Apostles [ View 56 page PDF ] The Erosion of Priestly Fraternity
Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis