Minnesota archbishop investigates bishop over alleged interference in sexual misconduct probe
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The Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis has opened an investigation into allegations that a Minnesota bishop interfered with a sexual misconduct probe in the diocese. 

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda said in a Tuesday statement that he had been authorized to begin an investigation into allegations that Bishop Michael Hoeppner "carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct" in the Diocese of Crookston.

Hoeppner is the bishop for Crookston, a city in Polk County. 


Hebda said in his statement that law enforcement had been notified about the allegations. He also noted that the probe is preliminary and has a limited time period to gather information. That information will be send to the Pope's U.S. representative and to the Congregation for Bishops in Rome to determine whether further procedures will be warranted. 

Hoeppner and the Diocese of Crookston declined to comment through a spokesperson who cited the investigation.

The Associated Press reported that the investigation is the first known review under a new papal law outlining preliminary investigation procedures. The law issued by the Pope in May aims to increase accountability. 

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement that "survivor advocates will be watching the outcome closely."

The group added that it had "little hope" the probe would be "complete or transparent."