NEW ULM – Fr. James Devorak is returning to active priestly ministry after police cleared him of wrongdoing and following a thorough review by both the Diocese of New Ulm and the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Fr. Devorak is a retired priest of the Diocese of New Ulm who has served in parishes in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis since 2015.
On August 31, 2017, the Glencoe Police Department completed its investigation into a sexual misconduct allegation against Fr. Devorak. The police investigators found the allegation to be “unfounded” and “without merit.”
On October 6, the Diocese of New Ulm review board recommended to Bishop John LeVoir that Fr. Devorak be reinstated to public ministry in the Diocese of New Ulm and the bishop approved that recommendation. On October 19, the archdiocesan ministerial review board recommended that Fr. Devorak be permitted to return to public ministry in the archdiocese. Archbishop Bernard Hebda accepted their recommendation on October 20.
Attorney Jeff Anderson informed the Diocese of New Ulm that his office will not pursue further representation of the individual who made the claim against Fr. Devorak. Mr. Anderson stated he did not want a cloud over Fr. Devorak because of this claim.
It is standard procedure for the Diocese of New Ulm to remove a member of the clergy from ministry if an allegation has been made against him. The Diocese of New Ulm takes all allegations against clergy very seriously and continues to ask that anyone with information about sexual misconduct by clergy report it to law enforcement. In addition, anyone who has suffered sexual abuse by clergy is encouraged to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 507-233-5313 for counseling or other assistance in healing.
Bishop LeVoir asks that we join in prayer for hope, healing and peace for both Fr. Devorak and the individual who made the unsubstantiated claim against him. Let us put our faith in the Lord, who is gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.