Fran Hoefgen is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He is accused of abusing the boy from the spring of 1989 to the fall of 1991, according to a court complaint. The boy was an altar boy at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Hastings, where Hoefgen was a priest.
The alleged victim told police in November that Hoefgen sexually abused him “on several occasions over an extended period of time,” according to the court complaint.
Hoefgen was arrested Tuesday and was ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail without conditions or $25,000 with several conditions, including not having any contact with the alleged victim. Hoefgen posted the lower bail and was released.
Hoefgen, 63, is a defendant in a lawsuit filed in November that accuses Hoefgen’s religious superiors of assigning Hoefgen to Hastings after they knew he had sexually abused a boy in Cold Spring.
Hoefgen admitted in March 1984 that he had sexually abused a boy in the St. Boniface parish residence in Cold Spring. Hoefgen was sent to St. Luke Institute in Maryland for evaluation and treatment but was not charged with a crime in Stearns County.
The abuse that Hoefgen perpetrated on the Cold Spring boy was reported to police, who took statements from the victim and from Hoefgen. The case was sent to the Stearns County Attorney’s Office for a decision on whether to charge Hoefgen.
But within a few days, St. Luke Institute had made a “strong recommendation” that Hoefgen come to Maryland for treatment. Hoefgen was sent there three days after giving a statement to police in which he admitted sexually abusing the Cold Spring boy.
The Stearns County Attorney’s Office in 1986 declined to file criminal charges against Hoefgen, saying that the statutes at the time didn’t fit the circumstances of what Hoefgen did. A letter declining to press charges also indicated that the county attorney’s office had been “reliably informed” that “concerns for (Hoefgen’s) further contact with young persons has been identified and dealt with in an appropriate manner.”
Hoefgen was removed from the priesthood in 2011. He had been placed on restriction by the abbey in 2002 after it received credible allegations against him of sexual misconduct.