Minnesota bishop resigns at pope's request after abuse coverup


April 14, 2021

Steve Ruark - Associated Press

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston, Minn., shown in 2008. Hoeppner has resigned at the request of Pope Francis after an investigation found that he covered up a former priest's sexual abuse.

Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Diocese of Crookston resigned Tuesday after a request to step down by Pope Francis and an investigation that showed he had covered up a sex abuse allegation against a priest.

Hoeppner is the first U.S. Catholic bishop to be disciplined under new Vatican protocols for reviewing and sanctioning bishops for sex abuse or coverups. The 2019 guidelines were put in place to enforce greater accountability of bishops when there are reports of abuse by clergy under their supervision.

Hoeppner, 71, was accused of pressuring a former deacon candidate to recant his statement that he was sexually abused as a teen by the Rev. Roger Grundhaus, a popular diocesan priest. Grundhaus has denied the abuse and Hoeppner has denied he tried to cover up the abuse claim.



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