In 2012, Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy, and to possessing child pornography.
The reverend reportedly abused the boys in his white 2006 camper, which he kept parked outside of Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul, Minn. Here, he “got drunk, smoked pot, and looked at child pornography.”
He also lured his 12- and 14-year-old victims in, “plied them with alcohol,” and told them to touch themselves while he turned on pornography. Police records indicate that he touched one of the boys several times.
When one of the boys told his aunt what was happening, the mother turned to another priest, and then to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Wehmeyer was arrested soon thereafter and sentenced to five years in prison.
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Now, the boys’ mother has said the church officials are blaming her for not protecting her sons.
In court earlier this month, Archdiocese lawyers said that she should not have allowed her children to spend time alone with Wehmeyer.
“She was aware of the time (her son) spent with Mr. Wehmeyer, and she knew that such interaction was contrary to established Archdiocese policy,” the Archdiocese said in its filing.
The mother has called these allegations “absurd,” and has said that her family’s life has since become a “war zone” of therapy appointments, psychiatric hospitalizations and financial stress.
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The mother, who remains unnamed to protect her children, says that she has learned a third son was also abused by Wehmeyer. Furthermore, one of the boys abused another sibling.
Thus, six of her nine children have been abused either by the reverend, or by another sibling.
Leaders in the Archdiocese reportedly knew of Wehmeyer’s “risky sexual behavior” when he was appointed as a pastor of Blessed Sacrament and St. Thomas the Apostle in 2009. The two St. Paul parishes later merged.
The mother, a devout Catholic who still holds a job at the parish, has said that she is “haunted” by the belief that the church could have prevented the abuse.
“The burden this has placed on my family and the devastation … is insurmountable,” she said, noting that “it really cut deep when they blamed it on me.”
The church has cut back on payments for family therapy and treatment, further adding to the family’s strains.
For example, although the Archdiocese followed through on promises to pay for family therapy, it did not pay for one of her son’s 66-day stay at a Washington County crisis home this summer, because the bill was for housing, not mental health treatment.
“It nauseates me to go to Mass and hear in the prayers of the faithful them say, ‘Let’s pray for the victims and their families,’ when I’ve got a lien on my taxes because they won’t pay my son’s bill,” the mother said.
Wehmeyer is now serving a prison sentence, but the abused children have had more than their own share of struggles, from failures in school to depression, guilt, anxiety and nightmares.
Photo source: http://minnesota.publicradio.org