Former Hastings priest charged with sex abuse

Francis Hoefgen
Francis Hoefgen mug shot
Courtesy Dakota County Sheriff

A former Catholic priest has been charged with allegedly sexually abusing an altar boy in Hastings over a two-and-a-half year period starting in 1989.

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Frances Hoefgen, 63, was arrested and charged Wednesday in Dakota County Court. He faces two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct involving the unnamed victim, who was 9 or 10 when the alleged abuse began. The alleged abuse occurred while Hoefgen was a priest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church.

State statutes allow prosecutors to pursue charges for three years after the victim reports child sexual abuse, even if the incident happened decades before, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said.

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Hoefgen's attorney, Andy Small, declined comment.

The alleged victim reported the incidents to police in November. Hoefgen is the subject of a lawsuit by a Minnesota man who claims he was sexually abused by the priest from 1989 to 1992.

The lawsuit says the Twin Cities archdiocese should have known Hoefgen was a danger because he admitted abusing a teenage boy a few years earlier.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.