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Four priests with ties to Hastings among those named by archdiocese in sexual abuse case

Four former priests who served in Hastings were among those named by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as having credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor against them.

Their names were released on Thursday. The four are among 32 who were named. The 32 people named have had civil and/or criminal lawsuits brought against them.

The four are:

• Francis Hoefgen, who was the associate priest at St. Boniface in Hastings from 1985 to 1992.

He was permanently removed from ministry in 2002 and is living in Columbia Heights.

• Thomas Stitts, who served as an associate priest at Guardian Angels from 1966 to 1970.

He died in 1985.

• Clarence Vavra, who served as associate priest at Guardian Angels from 1971 to 1972.

He was removed from the ministry in 2003 and is living in New Prague.

• Patrick Ryan, who was the pastor at Guardian Angels from 1943 to 1965. He died in 1965.

After his death he was accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1961.

The claim was never substantiated.

Chad Richardson

Chad Richardson is the news director for RiverTown Multimedia. He was the publisher of four RiverTown publications until 2016, when he was named news director. He was previously general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He worked at the Hastings Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.

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