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Former Hastings priest’s court appearance moved to Sept. 5

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news Ellsworth, 54011
Pierce County Herald
715-273-4335 customer support
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

An omnibus hearing Thursday, Sept. 5, in Dakota County District Court will determine the admissibility of evidence in the legal process for a former Hastings priest charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

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Francis Hoefgen, 63, now living in Columbia Heights, was charged by criminal complaint in late May following an investigation by Hastings Police. The investigation began last fall after the victim contacted the police department.

The criminal sexual abuse allegedly occurred 20 to 25 years ago, when the victim was an altar boy at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Hastings. His alleged abuser was the church pastor at the time, Hoefgen.

An omnibus hearing is a pretrial hearing. It is held after a defendant’s arraignment, which was May 21. The main purpose of the hearing is to determine the admissibility of evidence, including testimony and evidence seized at the time of arrest. At the time of his arraignment, Hoefgen posted $25,000 bail and was released.

According to the complaint, the victim reported to Hastings Police that when he was a child, he was sexually abused by Hoefgen. The victim attended St. Boniface Church and School. He served as an altar boy in the church. He told police that Hoefgen sexually abused him on several occasions over an extended period of time. The acts apparently occurred from the spring of 1989 to the fall of 1991.

Hoefgen served at St. Boniface in Cold Spring from 1980 to 1984. While in Cold Spring, he admitted to sexually abusing a boy. He was sent to Maryland for treatment, and then, less than a year after returning to Minnesota, he came to Hastings. He was removed from the ministry in 2002.

The complainant is in his mid-30s and no longer lives in Hastings.

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Jane Lightbourn
(651) 319-4503
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