Minnesota archbishop opens investigation into fellow bishop

Cathedral of Saint Paul
The Cathedral of St. Paul.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News file

The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis says he has opened an investigation under a new Vatican protocol into allegations that the bishop of Crookston interfered with investigations into clerical sexual misconduct.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda made the announcement Wednesday. His statement says the investigation targets Bishop Michael Hoeppner of the Crookston diocese in northwestern Minnesota. Hebda says law enforcement has been informed of the allegations. The archbishop's statement gave no details on them.

The archbishop says information from the investigation will be forwarded to Pope Francis' representative in the U.S. and to the Vatican for a determination on whether further steps are needed.

Leading the investigation will be the archdiocese's point person for sexual abuse allegations, Tim O'Malley, a former head of the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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