For an abusive priest, retirement income came with a premium


For an abusive priest, retirement income came with a premium

By Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio

October 9, 2013
The Rev. Robert Kapoun now lives in Cold Spring, Minn., about 18 miles southwest of St. Cloud. The lakefront property he occupies more than half the year was once owned by his parents — and is allegedly the scene of one of Kapoun's many instances of abuse against minors under his ministerial care in the 1970s and '80s. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

The Rev. Robert Kapoun now lives in Cold Spring, Minn., about 18 miles southwest of St. Cloud. The lakefront property he occupies more than half the year was once owned by his parents — and is allegedly the scene of one of Kapoun’s many instances of abuse against minors under his ministerial care in the 1970s and ’80s. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

 

They called him the Polka Padre. Later, they called him the Polka Predator.

For decades, the Rev. Robert Kapoun charmed parishioners with his accordion at “polka masses” across Minnesota. Privately, he took young boys to saunas, rectories and a secluded cabin in Cold Spring and sexually assaulted them, according to court testimony. Parents complained but leaders at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did little to stop him.

Kapoun remained in ministry until 1996, the year a lawsuit brought by Dale Scheffler, one of his victims, went to trial. It was the biggest clergy sex abuse case in Minnesota history. Over 10 days in a packed Hennepin County courtroom, jurors watched in shock as a parade of top church leaders defended and minimized their inaction. Former Archbishop John Roach claimed memory loss, while Kapoun, then 57, claimed that God had cured him of his sexual interest in young boys.

The jury awarded a $1 million verdict. Scheffler broke down sobbing.

It was a short-lived victory. An appellate court overturned the verdict the following year due to the statute of limitations. All Scheffler got was a bill from the archdiocese for its legal expenses.

 

An MPR News investigation found that a year after the trial, the archdiocese allowed Kapoun to retire early and sent him funds beyond his pension pay that totaled about $160,000 by 2012. The money was classified as “medical retirement.” Those retirement payments — $957.50 every month — came in addition to regular pension checks of $1,510.50.

In an interview recently with MPR News, Kapoun dismissed questions about money. The priest said that he rarely sees anyone from the archdiocese and that he suffers from migraines and spinal pain. He splits his time between his half-million dollar lakefront property in Cold Spring and a second home in Florida. “I’m very happy,” said Kapoun, 74.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese declined to make anyone available to discuss Kapoun.

Kapoun is one of several accused priests who’ve received payments in addition to regular pension checks, according to two former top church officials.

About victimsofrapebythercc

The Catechism offers a clear moral teaching: "Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person. It does injury to justice and charity. Rape deeply wounds the respect, freedom, and physical and moral integrity to which every person has a right. It causes grave damage that can mark the victim for life. It is always an intrinsically evil act. Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." (no. 2356) Note that rape is "an intrinsically evil act," meaning that it is evil at its very root, nothing justifies it, and it is objectively a mortal sin. An evil act was done against me, a crime, by a priest at St Thomas More Parish in Durham, NH. An evil and a crime I will no longer keep silent about. Those who perpetrate crimes against children, especially those of the Roman Catholic Church, should all be punished for their crimes against children. Anything less would be criminal.

Posted on October 14, 2013, in Archbishop John Clayton Nienstedt, Archbishop John Roach, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Archdiocese of St Paul, Bill Donohue, Catholic League, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Child Sex Abuse, Clergy Abuse, Clergy Sex Abuse, Father Robert Kapoun, Priest Child Sex Abuse, Religion, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Sex Abuse, Uncategorized, Vatican, William A Donohue and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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