FARGO — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced it has been authorized to investigate the bishop of the Crookston Diocese under recently enacted policies directed by Pope Francis aimed at rooting out sex abuse crimes and the covering of those crimes within the Catholic Church.
The archdiocese posted a statement attributed to Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda regarding the investigation of Bishop Michael Hoeppner on its website Wednesday morning.
"I have been authorized by the Congregation for Bishops to commence an investigation into allegations that the Most Reverend Michael Hoeppner, the Bishop of Crookston, carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct in the Diocese of Crookston. Law enforcement has been notified of the allegations. The allegations were reported to me under the procedures set out in Pope Francis’ recent legislation addressing bishop accountability, the motu proprio Vos estis lux mundi."
Read the full statement here.
The Catholic News Agency was the first to report the investigation.
The agency reported Hoeppner is the first bishop in the United States to be investigated under the new protocol.