Minnesota Bishop Michael Hoeppner responds to allegations made in a coercion lawsuit from Ronald Vasek in regards to alleged abuse that happened in 1971.

In response to the coercion lawsuit filed by Ronald Vasek saying Crookston Diocese Bishop Michael Hoeppner coerced him into signing a document denying sexual abuse by Father Roger Grundhaus, the Diocese says Hoeppner denies that he in any way "forced, coerced or encouraged" Vasek not to pursue allegations against Grundhaus.

Vasek said in a Tuesday press conference in St. Paul with Jeff Anderson and Associates that he was sexually abused when he was 16 years old in 1971 while on a trip to Ohio with Father Grundhaus. Vasek says that Bishop Hoeppner was informed in 2010 and that Hoeppner allegedly told him to not tell anyone about the abuse, and, later, in 2015, had him sign a document stating that the abuse never happened.

Statement made by the Diocese of Crookston:

   “Bishop Hoeppner and other diocesan leaders are deeply saddened and troubled about the allegations made today by Ron Vasek.

    The Diocese of Crookston takes all allegations of sexual abuse very seriously. Mr. Vasek’s allegation of sexual abuse dates to 1971 and involves Msgr. Roger Grundhaus. Msgr. Grundhaus has been retired since July 1, 2010 and is currently suspended from active ministry.

    Mr. Vasek has also alleged that Bishop Hoeppner coerced him into signing a document against his will and to not pursue the reporting of the allegations against Msgr. Grundhaus. Bishop Hoeppner categorically denies that he in any way forced, coerced or encouraged Mr. Vasek to not pursue his allegations regarding Msgr. Grundhaus. Mr. Vasek’s allegations of abuse regarding Msgr. Grundhaus were reported to law enforcement in 2011.

    The Diocese of Crookston plans to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter. It would not be appropriate to comment further until that investigation has been completed.

    The Diocese of Crookston is committed to the protection of children and the safe environment of our schools, parishes and communities. The Diocese of Crookston encourages anyone, with information regarding the abuse of exploitation of children or young people to immediately report that information to law enforcement or the Diocese of Crookston Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, Louann McGlynn at 218-281-7895. The Diocese of Crookston has fully adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, as promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Bishop Hoeppner asks that all those involved be kept in prayer during this difficult time.”