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County Attorney News Releases


Monica Jensen

Former Catholic Priest Charged With Sexual Abuse in Dakota County – Hoefgen, Francis
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Francis Hoefgen, age 63 of Columbia Heights (formerly of Hastings), was charged* today with two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree in connection with allegations that he repeatedly sexually abused a former altar boy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings from the Spring of 1989 to the Fall of 1991.  During this time the victim was 9 to 12 years of age. 

Details pertaining to these charges can be found in the criminal complaint located at: Criminal Complaint Search.  While in custody, mug shots can be viewed at:
Inmate Search.

Backstrom commented: “The sexual abuse of children under any circumstance is extremely disturbing, particularly so when the crime is committed by someone in a position of authority over the child, such as we are alleging occurred in this instance.”

Backstrom thanked the Hastings Police Department for the thorough investigation of this case. 

Backstrom and Hastings Police Chief Bryan Schafer encourage any other individual who may have been sexually abused by this defendant or any other person to contact the Hastings Police Department at 651-280-2300 or their local law enforcement agency to report such incidents.    

Hoefgen made his first appearance in court today and bail was set in the amount of $150,000 without conditions ($25,000 with conditions) by Dakota County District Court Judge Arlene Perkkio.  Hoefgen’s next court appearance is set for August 11, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. in Hastings.

If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.

*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt.  A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.​