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Breaking Down the Discrepancies Between the Bishop’s Statements

The following are excerpts of statements made by the Bishop or the Diocese. Although some contain truths, they are only partial truths. We aim to explain the full story.

Statement from the Diocese of Crookston on May 9th 2017

DOC statement: “Msgr. Roger Grundhaus… is currently suspended from active ministry.”

What they neglect to say is that Msgr. Grundhaus was active in ministry in the diocese, even after his retirement in July 2010, and was only suspended after the press conference in May 2017 made this issue public. The bishop had the same exact information regarding the allegation in 2017 as he did in 2010.

DOC statement: “Mr. Vasek’s allegations of abuse regarding Msgr. Grundhaus were reported to law enforcement in 2011.”

The allegations of abuse were not reported to Crookston authorities, and this statement does not say that Bishop Hoeppner was the one that reported to law enforcement. Also, Bishop Hoeppner did not go forward with making a report to the moderator of the curia, who initiates church investigations, as the policy stated. Why did the bishop fail to follow the diocese policy of reporting when he heard of the allegation initially?

DOC statement: “The Diocese of Crookston plans to conduct a thorough investigation into this matter.”

This isn’t clear as to what they are conducting an investigation upon. Are they investigating the initial allegation? Or are they investigating why the allegation was never reported? Per the diocese policy, it was the Bishop’s responsibility to report this allegation to the moderator of the curia, and ensure that the investigation was completed in 2011.

Bishop Hoeppner’s statement May 14th 2017

Bishop Hoeppner: “... civil and church processes have begun that take a thorough and fair look at the allegation”

Again, are they giving a thorough and fair look at the initial allegation received in 2010, or the fact that it was never investigated? Following the press conference in May, civil and church investigations were initiated. Bishop Hoeppner failed to mention that a criminal investigation was also being conducted. Bishop Hoeppner has neglected to say that a criminal investigation was conducted in any of his statements, or in his statements to his priests of the diocese.

Bishop Hoeppner: “As was indicated in the statement from the Diocese of Crookston released last week, Msgr. Grundhaus has been removed from active priestly ministry.”

Again, why did they wait until May 2017? Why was this not done in 2010? Why did it take 7 years? Msgr. Grundhaus was still an active minister in the church even after the Bishop knew of these allegations.

Bishop Hoeppner: “I will do all I can to keep you informed as these matters move forward.”

Between May and September, there were no updates given to the diocese at all, including no mention of the criminal investigation that was occurring at the time.

Statement from Bishop Hoeppner September 27th 2017

Bishop Hoeppner: “As you are probably aware, earlier this year, Mr. Ronald Vasek brought a lawsuit against me and the Diocese of Crookston”

Again, neglecting to reflect that both a civil and criminal investigation was initiated.

Bishop Hoppner: “Mr. Vasek had indicated to me that he wanted the alleged incident to remain confidential.”

There is a big difference between confidentiality and covering up an allegation. Regardless of Ron’s wishes, it is the Bishop’s responsibility to report per the policy. Why did the bishop not follow the Diocese policies?

Per the diocese policy in effect in 2010/2011:

7.4.3 When an adult reports having been abused as a minor by a person who is currently ministering, working, or serving in the Diocese, but does not wish to make a formal complaint for the purposes of a Church investigation, the person who receives the report will inform the Vicar General that an anonymous allegation has been received.

The Vicar General was NOT informed of this allegation.

Column by Bishop Hoeppner October 6th, 2017

In this column, Bishop Hoeppner states: “I signed the settlement agreement so we could avoid a long, drawn out legal process and to avoid costly attorney fees.”

He fails to clearly indicate that he initiated the settlement. “I signed” is different than “I pursued”.

Bishop Hoeppner: “It was in 2011 that Mr. Vasek first asked to see me.”

FALSE: The Vicar General of the Diocese of Fargo contacted Bishop Hoeppner. Bishop Hoeppner then contacted Ron Vasek to set up a meeting. The Diocese of Fargo and phone records can verify that. Ron approaching Bishop Hoeppner makes Bishop Hoeppner appear to be unaware of the allegation. Bishop Hoeppner was informed of the allegation first NOT in the internal forum, but in official inter-diocesan communication. This would be the first opportunity to include the Vicar General. That didn’t happen.

Bishop Hoeppner: “I told him I would respect his wishes and his right to keep this matter confidential as he asked.”

Bishop Hoeppner was made aware of this allegation outside of confidentiality by the Diocese of Fargo, and now moved the allegation to the realm of confidentiality. Why? The realm of confidentiality would not have prevented the bishop from informing the Vicar General of an anonymous allegation. Prior, during, and post meeting the Vicar General was never informed.

Bishop Hoeppner: “I met a second time with Mr. Vasek about this matter in October 2015. We had been informed by a neighboring diocese that Msgr. Grundhaus’ name would not be included on their list of priests who could do coverage in that diocese because Mr. Vasek had talked to a priest of that diocese about the alleged incident.”

Ron spoke to the priest in that diocese prior to the FIRST meeting back in 2010; this makes it seem like Ron’s disclosure to the neighboring diocese took place after Bishop and Ron met in 2010. MISLEADING.

A QUESTION: Who is ‘we’ in this statement? Bishop Hoeppner indicates that more than he alone was made aware of this allegation of sexual misconduct. This would be outside of the realm of ‘confidentiality’ for both Bishop Hoeppner and any other person included in ‘we’.

Bishop Hoeppner: “At the end of our conversation that day, I thought it prudent to have in writing a statement from Mr. Vasek. … I put together a statement for him to sign expressing his free intent and desire not to make an official accusation: “I, Ron Vasek, regarding a trip I was on when I was 16 years old, and on which a priest of the Diocese of Crookston was also participating, clearly and freely state that I have no desire to nor do I make any accusation of sexual impropriety by the priest toward me.”

This letter doesn’t name Msgr Grundhaus. This letter surely couldn’t be used to then contact the Diocese of Fargo as proof of Grundhaus’ good name, could it? If the whole point of the letter was to show to the Fargo Diocese that Msgr. Grundhaus’s name was cleared and he should be able to minister, why wouldn’t the letter have been more specific? This letter also does not mention Ron’s alleged request for confidentiality.

To read more about the details surrounding the circumstance, timing, and content of the letter, check the blog post regarding the significance of the letter.


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