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MINNESOTA NEWS ROUNDUP: St. Paul and Minneapolis Vicar resigns after court revelations

ST. PAUL -- The second-in-command at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has stepped down after a St. Paul report was released in court yesterday (Thu) that claims church officials knew a priest had possessed child pornography but still assigned him to duties that included contact with children. The report shows that seized evidence of child pornography was kept in a vault, and also accuses Reverend Peter Laird of keeping that information hidden from investigators. Laird has released a statement that says he hopes his resignation will help repair the trust of many, "especially the victims of abuse." A statement from the Archdiocese says Laird’s immediate resignation was his decision alone, and that Laird, "did nothing improper.” Reverend Charles Lachowitzer, the current pastor of the St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Eagan, will take over the vicar’s job, and Laird will remain with the Archdiocese in an undefined role.


A former southern Minnesota boarding school teacher will be sentenced today (Fri) for sexually abusing six male Shattuck-St. Mary's students when he taught drama at the school from 1992 to 2003. Faribault Police began investigating Lynn Seibel last summer, after a former student came forward with allegations of private masturbation sessions that occurred on the S-SM campus while Seibel taught there. He was brought back to Minnesota from Los Angeles to face 17 felony charges that include criminal sexual misconduct with a minor, abusing a position of authority, using minors in pornographic work and possessing pornographic material on a work computer. He was working as an actor in California at the time of his arrest and most recently played a professor on The Big Bang Theory. The 71-year-old admitted at a plea hearing that he encouraged boys to take part in a "naked dance party" in the shower. Prosecutors will ask the judge to send Seibel to prison for four years.


The Vikings and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority have unveiled a use agreement for the new Vikings stadium. One-time, personal seat license fees would be charged on three-quarters of the new stadium's 65 thousand seats. They would average 25-hundred dollars per seat, from a low of 500 dollars a seat to a high of ten thousand dollars. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton says the agreement is good for the state and the city, but he isn't fond of that part of the deal and says, "One dollar for personal seat licenses is a dollar too much." Dayton says, though, that Minnesota wouldn't have a new stadium or a professional team if officials hadn't been willing to accede to seat licenses. Ticketholders would have three years to pay the fee. Money raised, about 100 million dollars, would go towards the Vikings contribution to the new stadium. 


A thousand-dollar reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an unknown suspect in a frat party stabbing early Sunday morning in Bemidji that left one man hospitalized. Sheriff's deputies intercepted a vehicle transporting 18-year-old Jace Ugrich of Bovey to Sanford Hospital. Investigators learned Ugrich was trying to intervene in a brawl between two men at the party when an unknown suspect stabbed him in the back Deputies are seeking information that will help identify the suspect. Anyone with information is asked to contact Beltrami County dispatch or CrimeStoppers.  


Drivers and passengers, including those in the back seat, are reminded to buckle up as extra "Click It or Ticket" seat belt patrols take to the roads statewide today (Fri) thru October 19th. To launch the campaign, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety rolled out a new video "Yearbook" that focuses on teenage unbelted traffic deaths. The 30-second video features the faces of real Minnesota teenagers whose yearbook photos are marked up by the pen of a peer. Each year in Minnesota, more than half of the teenagers killed in crashes were not buckled up. There were 102 teen vehicle occupant deaths in Minnesota between 2010 and 2012 and only 42 were belted.


A former contract baggage worker at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has pled guilty to stealing guns from the checked luggage of passengers. 24-year-old David Vang of St. Paul admitted to 10 counts of theft of a firearm and was sentenced to two years in prison. Surveillance video showed him stealing the items from suitcases and police found stolen guns, electronics, jewelry and other items in a search of Vang's apartment, valued at more than $84,000. 


Most of Minnesota will be wet today (Fri) and some areas of the state could see some severe weather. Meteorologist Chris Franks of the National Weather Service Office in Chanhassen says the far southern portion of the state is at moderate risk for severe weather beginning this afternoon. He says much of southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin is included in this risk of severe weather. Franks says hail and wind are possible and there is even the possibility of some tornadoes because of a very favorable wind profile. If severe weather does develop it will likely happen quickly, and the storms will be fast-moving.


The Twin Cities Marathon is on Sunday. There's a 50-percent chance of rain during the race, with a high near 54 expected. Registration for the marathon is closed, but is still open for family events like the Toddler Trott and Diaper Dash.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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