Category Archives: Father Robert Kapoun

Trial Transcripts and Statements for Father Robert Kapoun


Trial Transcripts and Statements for Father Robert Kapoun Trial

These are links to the statements and trial transcripts to the Trial of Father Robert Kapoun. These transcripts show the evil perpetrated upon victims of child rape and how the leaders covered up these crimes and rewarded the pedophile rapist priest and punished the victims.

Deposition of Archbishop John R Roach

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784191-deposition-of-archbishop-john-r-roach-july-24-1989.html

HIGHLIGHTS:

Archbishop Roach: “At the same time that he was complaining of back problems… he was also directing a band called the Polka Padres…” pg. 3
Archbishop Roach: “I really wasn’t sure he wanted to be a priest…” pg 4
“[Fr. Srnec] felt that there was something clearly wrong with him…” pg 4
“I would see billboards of the Polka Padre out with his accordion and here’s a guy who wasn’t performing.” pg 5
Archbishop Roach testimony: Difficulty remembering pg 7
“I wanted to know, really, what I could do to be some help to him.”  pg 14
“Was there any question by you about [the victim] and how he was doing…?” pg 14
Archbishop Roach: “Those things certainly I would have tried to do.” pg 17
Jeff Anderson: “You also I think this morning talked about a vault…” pg 17
“He is probably right about Kapoun.”  pg 19

Msgr Stanley J Smec Disposition:

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784190-msgr-stanley-j-srnec-deposition-july-7-1989.html

Highlights:

Msgr. Srnec recalls a parishioner alerting him to “impropriety between Father Kapoun” and a boy  pg 5

Father Robert Kapoun Court Documents I

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784213-court-documents-1995-96.html

Highlights:

Dale Scheffler initiates lawsuit against Kapoun and archdiocese, Sept. 2, 1994. pg 1
Scheffler complaint, Sept. 2, 1994.  pg 2
Andrew Eisenzimmer signs for summons, Sept. 7, 1994. pg 10
Dale Scheffler’s allegations against the Rev. Kapoun  pg 10
Archbishop John Roach deposition, pp. 68-81, July 24, 1989. pg 68
Judge grants punitive damages claim against Kapoun in 1989 suit, April 20, 1990. pg 89
Judge grants punitive damages claim against Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1989 suit, April 20, 1990. pg 90
Kapoun 1989 deposition, pp. 105-137 
A jury awards Scheffler $550,000 in damages. pg 140
A jury finds archdiocese liable for $600,000. pg 141
Scheffler awarded reimbursement of legal fees. pg 143
Scheffler awarded reimbursement of legal fees. pg 144
Judge rules for Scheffler and against the archdiocese in the amount of $1.2 million. pg 147
Judge amends case title to identify Dale Scheffler, July 3, 1996.  pg 149
Trial dates. pg 154
Judgment of Aug. 9, 1996 I.  pg 154
Judgment of Aug. 9, 1996 II. pg 155
Court of Appeals ruling, legal fees, Aug. 20, 1997. pg 158
Court of Appeals reverse lower-court ruling – syllabus. pg 161
Court of Appeals reverse lower court decision I, May 20, 1997. pg 167
Court of Appeals reverse lower court decision II, May 20, 1997.  pg 168
Judgment, March 1, 1996. pg 174
Mark Schutz deposition, pp. 228-246 , April 20, 1994. pg 228
Scheffler complaint, pp. 292-299. Sept. 2, 1994 pg 292

Father Robert Kapoun Court Documents II

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784217-court-documents-1995-96-ii.html

Highlights:

James Drummond complaint, suit commenced on June 23, 1994; filed Feb. 7, 1995.  pg 2
Kapoun signs receipt for Drummond summons, Aug. 12, 1994. pg 10
Archdiocese signs receipt for Drummond summons, June 27, 1994. pg 12
James Drummond deposition, March 17, 1995, pp. 22-40.  pg 22
Lttr. regarding the Rev. James Porter, Aug. 24, 1967. pg 63
Lttr. regarding the Rev. James Porter, Oct. 9, 1968. pg 64
Lttr. regarding the Rev. James Porter, Aug. 6, 1969. pg 65
Lttr. regarding the Rev. James Porter, Nov. 3, 1970. pg 66
Lttr. regarding the Rev. James Porter, undated.  pg 67
Mark Schutz, jury award, March 25, 1996 pg 69
Kapoun deposition, pp. 97-115, March 7, 1995. pg 97
Victim describes the nature of the abuse pg 121
Victim describes the nature of the abuse (cont.) pg 122
Judgment against Mark Schutz in favor of archdiocese for $3,312.04, Aug. 2, 1996. pg 172
Order amending title of Schutz lawsuit, allowing Schutz to be namd, Aug. 2, 1996. pg 173
Judgment against Schutz due to statute of limitations, March 28, 1996. pg 176
Kapoun responses to interrogatories, Drummond case. pg 177
Kapoun parish-assignment timeline, Dec. 12, 1994. pg 180
Deposition of Curt Raymond, April 14, 1995. pg 370
Judge dismisses Drummond’s case, June 13, 1995. pg 390
Judge in Drummond case uses Mark Schutz case to make decision. pg 392
Drummond case judge rejects argument that sexual abuse perpetrated by a few priests does not require archdiocese to be suspicious of all priests. pg 393
Mark Tuma initiates his lawsuit against Kapoun and the archdiocese, Sept. 15, 1993. pg 395
Archdiocese lawyer, Andrew Eisenzimmer, signs receipt for summons, Sept. 29, 1993. pg 396
Kapoun signs summons receipt, Sept. 23, 1993. pg 398
Mark Tuma deposition, pp. 404-406. pg 404
Mark Tuma complaint, Sept. 15, 1993. pg 406
Deposition of Mark Tuma, pp. 463-471, May 20, 1994.Untitled Note pg 463
Mark Tuma answer to interrogatories, Feb. 1, 1994. pg 472
Deposition of the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, pp. 509-515, July 1994. pg 509
Deposition of Jane Steinhagen: Kapoun turned religion class to sexual topics, April 30, 1995. pg 521
Steinhagen deposition: Kapoun likened Communion with intercourse with Christ, April 30, 1995. pg 522
Judge dismisses Tuma suit against archdiocese, June 9, 1995 pg 532. 
Judge rules that archdiocese should not have known that Kapoun posed threat to Tuma. pg 534
Judge rules that archdiocese should not have known that Kapoun posed threat to Tuma. pg 536

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts I

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784474-kapoun-trial-transcript-vol-i.html

Highlights:

Jeff Anderson says Kapoun abused several parish children, took them swimming and on overnight trips 
Archdiocese lawyer asks judge to block testimony by other alleged victims of Kapoun 
Archdiocese lawyer: Kapoun was not acting as an employee of the archdiocese when he sexually abused children 
Anderson says Archdiocese knew Kapoun sexually abused a boy in 1973 and did nothing 
Kapoun takes two boys to his cabin, sexually abuses them, attorney says 
Kapoun abuses a sleeping boy at the cabin 
Kapoun’s victim “suffered in secrecy, silence and shame and told no one for years” 
Mother tells a priest in 1973 that Kapoun sexually abused her son 
John Roach, future archbishop, dismisses abuse report in 1973, “Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not” 
Attorney for victim: The archdiocese swept the allegations under the rug, allowed the abuse to continue. 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts II

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784217-court-documents-1995-96-ii.html

Highlights:

Archdiocese lawyer: Kapoun wasn’t acting as a priest when he took the boys to the cabin 
Kapoun’s attorney blames the media for putting priests in a “very unenviable position,” says Kapoun “has a black cloud hanging over his head” 
Kapoun’s attorney says there’s no evidence of the abuse, just the testimony of Kapoun and “the accuser” 
“Why Father Kapoun? Father Kapoun is the polka padre.” 
Archbishop Roach says the vicar general “has always played a very rigorous part in the administration of the diocese.” 
Archbishop Roach says he doesn’t remember the report about Kapoun in 1973 
Roach says he knew Kapoun had emotional problems in the 1970s 
Attorney Jeff Anderson asks Archbishop Roach why he suddenly recalls a conversation he previously said he forgot 
Roach says Polka Padre spent most of his time playing the accordion and made excuses for skipping mass 
Another victim testifies that Kapoun manipulated him after his father died 
Victim recalls how Kapoun would try to touch him while swimming in the lake 
Victim tells his mother about Kapoun’s actions 
Victim says he was scared that Kapoun would hurt him again 
Victim says he heard nothing from the archdiocese after he reported sexual abuse 
Priest tells Roach of abuse, says Roach said, of abuse allegations against Kapoun, “Well, maybe he did and maybe he didn’t” 
Priest says he was confident in Roach’s ability to know whether someone was lying about abuse 
Kapoun admits that he was sexually attracted to boys, but says he no longer feels that way 
Kapoun claims he didn’t realize that he was harming the boys  
Kapoun says he took a boy to his family cabin “just to have a good time.” 
Kapoun says he didn’t abuse one boy because he “just didn’t have any curiosity” about him 
Kapoun says he dropped a raw egg down a boy’s pants  
Kapoun says he exercised with a boy in his underwear 
Attorney to Kapoun: “Did you have a sexual interest in this boy?” Kapoun: “Yes, minimum” 
Kapoun offers vague testimony on his sexual interest in boys 
Kapoun explains why he asked a boy to stay overnight, “It was a curiosity of about his genitals.” 
Kapoun claims that a boy touched him in a car, says he didn’t ask the boy to do it 
Kapoun says he brought a boy to his parents’ home and asked him to get into the shower because of his “curiosity” 
Kapoun again claims that a minor touched his genitals without any prompting 
Kapoun admits to touching a boy 
Kapoun of one victim: “I would say he had more interest in me than I did in him.” 
Kapoun admits that he invited a boy to stay with him overnight “probably to see him undressed” 
Kapoun says he didn’t have any sexual interest in Dale Scheffler 
Kapoun says the Archdiocese knew that boys tried to lock him out of their bedrooms 
Another man describes how Kapoun tried to sexually abuse him as a child 
Curt Raymond tells Kevin McDonough about the abuse in 1988 or 1989 
Victim recounts being confused by Kapoun’s abuse. “I was thinking to myself, is this a sacrament?” 
Kapoun victim watches TV report on clergy sex abuse. “It was like somebody hit me with a baseball bat between the eyes.” 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts III

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784482-kapoun-trial-transcript-vol-3.html

Highlights:

Michael Dearing describes Kapoun taking him to the Cold Spring cabin 
Plaintiff expert says victim Dale Scheffler has a “classic and severe learning disability” 
Plaintiff expert says trauma can make a learning disability more severe 
Therapist says Dale Scheffler “was afraid that the abuse was continuing and feared for the kids” 
Dale Scheffler’s therapist describes how the abuse led to other problems in Scheffler’s life 
Therapist describes Scheffler’s fear that the church will retaliate against his family; describes how Scheffler saw Kapoun by chance on the freeway 
Therapist says Scheffler used alcohol and drugs to push away memories of the abuse 
Therapist says Scheffler will likely need at least 150 hours of therapy over five years 
Archdiocese attorney questions victim’s commitment to therapy 
Archdiocese attorney suggests the lawsuit, not the abuse, was the source of Scheffler’s stress 
Archdiocese lawyer grills therapist on the reasons why Scheffler started drinking and using drugs 
Archdiocese lawyer claims that the victim’s father was an alcoholic 
Attorney asks why a boy’s parents allowed him to stay with Kapoun at the cabin. “Because he was our priest and supposedly it’s supposed to be safe.” 
Archdiocese attorney picks apart details about the overnight trip to the cabin, focuses on whether Kapoun’s mother was there and whether one of the boys slept in a sleeping bag 
Archdiocese attorneys asks a man to describe the cabin he visited when he was 11 years old 
Kapoun’s attorney grills a witness about the details of the overnight trip to the cabin 
Kapoun’s attorney asks a witness to recall a visit to Kapoun’s cabin when he was 11 years old. Asks what the boys ate, and whether the food was cooked or cold 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts IV

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/800661-transcript-vol-4-from-anderson.html

Highlights:

Next Dale Scheffler describes how his family trusted Kapoun and allowed the priest to take him on an overnight trip when he was about 13 years old 
Previous Next Scheffler describes how Kapoun abused him while swimming in the lake  
Previous Next Scheffler, recounting abuse, “I felt nothing. I don’t know what to feel.” 
Previous Next Archdiocese attorney questions Scheffler about his dating history 
Previous Next Archdiocese attorney questions Scheffler about whether his father is an alcoholic 
Previous Next Archdiocese attorney grills Scheffler on whether the other boy at the cabin slept in a sleeping bag 
Previous Next Archdiocese attorney asks Scheffler if he told his mother specifically that “Father Kapoun had touched you with his penis and had tried to put it in your butt?” Scheffler says, “I don’t know … I was a little kid.” 
Previous Archdiocese attorney suggests Scheffler may have been traumatized by his father’s struggles with arthritis 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts V

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784486-kapoun-trial-transcript-vol-5.html

Highlights:

Kapoun explains how he got the nickname “Polka Padre” 
Kapoun says his behavior with Michael Dearing was “very very wrong” 
Kapoun claims he slept in between two boys because he “didn’t want any horseplay between the two individuals” 
Kapoun: “I never abused Dale Scheffler.” 
Anderson asks a doctor to compare the stress of the lawsuit to the stress of knowing that Kapoun remained a pastor; Archdiocese attorney objects 
Archdiocese attorney says the lawsuit may have caused Scheffler’s stress 
Expert witness for the archdiocese says Scheffler was not severely mentally ill 
Expert witness for the archdiocese lists Scheffler’s stressors; he includes “litigation over alleged abuse by priest,” does not include the abuse itself 
Expert witness for the archdiocese says Scheffler blamed others for his problem “and until he starts taking some responsibility for making changes in his life, I was not optimistic that he would respond to treatment” 
Expert witness for the archdiocese says Scheffler’s progress in therapy should be closely tracked because “there is always the danger of someone who has a problem with depression and who is being very blaming and having a lot of old baggage … [will] continue to dwell on that …” 
Jeff Anderson fires back at archdiocese expert about whether Scheffler has taken responsibility for making changes in his life 

Expert witness for archdiocese says, “There are some people who don’t really want to be happy.” 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts VI

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/800662-transcript-vol-6-from-anderson.html

Highlights:

Archdiocese’s attorney: “If he was abused, we are not saying he wasn’t harmed by that to some extent.” 
Archdiocese attorney: Victim knew right away that he had been sexually abused 
Archdiocese attorney says a reasonable person in the victim’s situation would’ve realized that being sexually abused led to shame, guilt and personal problems.. 
Archdiocese attorney: If Kapoun sexually abused Scheffler, he wasn’t acting as a priest when he did it. 
Archdiocese attorney expands on argument that Kapoun wasn’t acting as a priest when he abused children. 
Archdiocese attorney: Any abuse by Kapoun took place during Kapoun’s time off. 
Archdiocese attorney tries to cast doubt on testimony about the church’s knowledge of the abuse in the 1970s. 
Archdiocese attorney says someone has to be mistaken about the overnight trip with Kapoun and two boys because witnesses have different recollections of whether they took a shower or slept in a sleeping bag. 
Instructions to the jury: “What sum of money will fairly compensate dale Scheffler for his damages up to the date of trial?” 
Archdiocese lawyer tells the jury that Scheffler should receive no more than $2,548 for past medical, therapy and counseling expenses. 
Archdiocese attorney says jurors have no proof that Scheffler lost earnings because of the abuse. 
Archdiocese attorney advises jury to award no more than $80,000 for compensatory damages. 
Archdiocese attorney: Scheffler does not appear to be suffering financially because he took a vacation to the Black Hills. 
Archdiocese attorney tells jury that they should award no more than $40,000 for future damages. 
Kapoun’s attorney: Abuse allegations are “15 years stale” 
Kapoun’s attorney cites conflicting testimony on whether the boys had sleeping bags 
Previous Next Kapoun’s attorney says alleged victim was looking for someone to blame for his personal problems 
Previous Next Kapoun’s attorney suggests the alleged victim could be making false accusations to get money 
Previous Next Kapoun’s attorney says Scheffler and his mother should’ve known it was abuse right away if the story was true 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson to jury: “I will not be eloquent but I will be honest.” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson: “Bringing this case … has been and is one of the gravest responsibilities I have ever taken or undertaken as a person and as a lawyer” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson says pedophiles like Kapoun need to be punished and removed from ministry 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson: “Dale after the abuse began a descent into hell and there is no question about that.” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson, of Scheffler after the abuse, “He began these processes of burying and copying and without a clue why his life was so messed up. He isolated, he changed his friends, he began to use drugs and alcohol. All the while thinking there is something wrong with him and not knowing or having a way to know why this is.” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson calls the suggestion that Scheffler should’ve immediately known it was sexual abuse “offensive” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson says mother allowed her child to spend time with Kapoun because he was a priest, “the man they were taught to worship God through.” 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson casts doubt on Archbishop Roach’s testimony 
Previous Next Jeff Anderson suggests that jurors award Scheffler $134,000 for future loss of earnings 
Previous Jeff Anderson asks jurors to decide in favor of his client “to share in the rage and to be a part of his recovery and how he walks that road ahead” 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts VII

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784496-kapoun-trial-transcript-vol-7.html

Highlights:

Attorneys discuss how Kapoun had previously admitted sexually abusing another boy in 1969 
Archdiocese attorney says “there was no proof” that Kapoun was “acting in the scope of employment” when he took the boys to the cabin 
Archdiocese attorney claims that punishing the church would violate the U.S. Constitution 
Jury awards victim $277,742 for damages that occurred prior to trial 
Jury awards victim $272,258 for future expenses, lost earnings, disability, emotional distress and embarassment 
Judge Gary Larson threatens to sanction Archdiocese lawyer $1,000 a day until Archbishop Roach returns from Florida to testify 
Judge Gary Larson shows frustration, suggests he wouldn’t be surprised if Archbishop Roach had left the country 
Archdiocese lawyer: Archbishop Roach is actually leaving the country 
Attorney Jeff Anderson offers to charter a plane to fly Archbishop Roach to Minnesota to testify 
Judge Gary Larson explains that jurors need to determine whether it’s likely the archdiocese “acted with willful indifference to the rights or safety of others.” 
Judge Gary Larson explains how the jury should decide the amount of punitive damages 
Kapoun meets with top church leaders in 1984 and admits to touching a boy; Church leaders ask Kapoun to resign from his parishes 
Kapoun resigns as pastor to prevent a victim’s family from calling police 
Kapoun says he talked with Bishop Carlson in 1987 about his sexual abuse of boys, Carlson asks Kapoun to seek a psychological evaluation 
Kapoun tells his parishioners he’s going on a vacation, spends that time receiving a psychological evaluation for child sexual abuse 
Top church deputy Kevin McDonough asks Kapoun in 1989 if he sexually abused one boy, Kapoun admits it 
Kapoun says Bishop Carlson told him in 1987 that the statute of limitation had expired on some of his unreported crimes 
Kapoun says church officials told him in the late 1980s not to spend time with boys but did not restrict him in any other way 
Kapoun says vicar general Kevin McDonough required him to attend therapy and confess his sins once a month 
Kapoun says he realized in therapy that he had a compulsive sexual interest in boys 
Archdiocese attorney asks Kapoun to assure jurors that his conduct at a parish since 1984 “has been above reproach” 
Archdiocese attorney asks Kapoun for his opinion on whether the church has put enough restrictions on him to protect children; Kapoun says restrications were “absolutely sufficient” 
Anderson asks Kapoun if he’s considered the impact of denying that he abused young men who are coming forward about abuse as children; Archdiocese lawyer objects 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts VIII

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/800665-transcript-vol-8.html

Highlights: None

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts IX

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784498-kapoun-trial-transcript-9.html

Highlights:

Jeff Anderson cross examines Archbishop John Roach 
Archbishop John Roach: “Would it help you if I would tell you a little bit about my style of administration?” Jeff Anderson: “No, it would help me if you would answer the question.” 
Jeff Anderson to Archbishop Roach: “You were gambling not with money but with children’s lives, weren’t you?” Roach: “Not intentionally.” 
Archbishop Roach says he transferred Kapoun out of St. Patrick’s Church because the victim’s parents were threatening to call police 
Archbishop Roach admits that “it was certainly a gamble” to reassign Kapoun knowing that he had sexually abused children in the past 
Archbishop Roach says he never met with anyone abused by Kapoun 
Archbishop Roach: “I made a judgment that there had been a dramatic change in Father Kapoun’s life and in his pattern and that he was safe in dealing with other people as proved to be true.” 
Anderson asks Archbishop Roach what he did to help the victims of Kapoun; Roach says, “I am sure we were concerned about them and I can’t tell you, Mr. Anderson, what we did about them.” 
Archbishop John Roach claims God intervened and changed Kapoun’s heart and soul 
Archbishop Roach says Kapoun was a “dramatically changed person” who was believable, holy and honest about his past actions 
Archbishop Roach says he hasn’t met with any of Kapoun’s victims and doesn’t know whether anyone on his staff has done so, either 
Vicar General Kevin McDonough: “Mr. Anderson has taught us a lot of things, and the victims he has represented have taught us a lot of things.” 
Vicar General Kevin McDonough describes restrictions placed on Kapoun 
Vicar General Kevin McDonough says parishioners weren’t told anything about Kapoun’s past until a victim sued 
Vicar General Kevin McDonough says Kapoun has already been “punished by public disclosure of his offenses … limitation on his ministry … mandated assessment and mandated treatment.” 

Jeff Anderson asks McDonough: “When you continued (Kapoun) in the parish, you in effect allowed him to continue to deny the abuse of all of those boys publicly?” McDonough: “That’s correct.” 

Father Robert Kapoun Trial Transcripts X

http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/784500-kapoun-trial-transcript-10.html

Highlights:

Archdiocese “avoided scandal” by keeping abusive priests in ministry 
Archdiocese attorney says, “Certainly the attitude and the conduct of the Archdiocese at times has been inappropriate and lacking in the type of response we would all today expect from the Archdiocese.” 
Church lawyer says, “Certainly the Archdiocese has been punished over and over for these mistakes of the past.” 
Church lawyer says the archdiocese “has been punished severely” by clergy abuse lawsuits 
Church lawyer says the archdiocese has “clearly learned from these mistakes of the past” and should be encouraged, not punished 
Church lawyer says “hope has emerged … that the church has seen the path that leads in the direction of prevention of future harm” 
Jeff Anderson says the church profitted by keeping clergy sex abuse secret 
Jeff Anderson says the archdiocese “create a danger and a menance, and it has been there for every day since.” 
Jeff Anderson says his earlier lawsuits “have had no affect on the way they are doing business … the way they are gambling with the lives of these kids every time they put a predatory priest in a parish.” 
Jeff Anderson asks jurors, “Did you hear Father McDonough say shockingly that when these come forward now we report them to the police if they are recent but not if they are older. What is going on here?” 
Jeff Anderson tells jurors they have a “solemn obligation to … serve as an example and to return a verdict that strikes the bell and delivers a blow, and that is no less than ten million dollars.” 
Jury finds that the archdiocese should pay $600,000 in punitive damages 

 

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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.