Sexual misconduct charges filed against Maplewood priest

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman filed criminal sexual misconduct charges Tuesday against the Rev. Mark Huberty, who served as pastor at Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood from 2007 until September.

According to the charges, Huberty inappropriately touched a woman under his spiritual care. They later engaged in other sexual activity over several months in the woman's Maplewood home, at the church and in Huberty's car.

Huberty and the woman were scheduled to go on a vacation to Kansas City in April, the complaint says. He later canceled the vacation, upsetting the victim. She later approached Huberty asking how she could stay in the church and attend Mass knowing what they did together. Huberty "revealed that other women friends seemed to have no problem remaining active in the church when their relationship with him ended," the complaint says.

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The victim filed a report with the Maplewood Police Department in May after Huberty encouraged her to not tell her husband about the relationship.

Huberty was ordained in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1996. His alleged act is a violation of the pastoral code of conduct at the archdiocese. State law also forbids a priest from having sexual relations with parishioners or anyone under the pastoral care.

Huberty denied any wrongdoing when he announced to the church in September that he was taking a leave of absence.

In a statement today, archdiocese officals said they first learned of Huberty's situation from another priest in late August, began an investigation and placed Huberty on a leave from active ministry. As a result of today's developments, Huberty submitted his resignation as pastor at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,the statement said.

"The conduct alleged is simply not proper conduct for a member of the clergy," Freeman said in a statement. "The conduct is of the type prohibited by law as a fourth degree criminal sexual conduct and that is the way we have charged it in our criminal complaint.

Freeman is handling the case because Ramsey County Attorney John Choi cited a conflict of interest in the matter. Choi told MPR News that he went to school with Huberty. Huberty's first court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 18.