- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 29, 2014
No charges in archdiocese’s handling of abuse case

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota prosecutors said Wednesday they would not charge members of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the way they handled allegations of sexual abuse by a priest, saying there was not enough evidence to prove anyone - including another priest who learned during a confession of the molestation - violated the law.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said his office can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone failed to immediately report allegations of abuse by the Rev. Curtis Wehmeyer, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for molesting two brothers.

But, Choi said, the overall investigation into allegations of clergy sexual misconduct, and the archdiocese’s response, is far from over.

“We will only allow facts to lead the way, and we will pursue justice without fear or favor while doing our best to leave no stone unturned,” Choi said, later adding: “I continue to be troubled by some of the church’s reporting practices.”

In a separate case, Washington County prosecutors said Wednesday they would not charge another archdiocesan priest, the Rev. Jonathan Shelley, who had been accused of possessing child pornography. Prosecutors said authorities concluded none of the images on Shelley’s old computer were illegal.

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Panel recommends crackdown on synthetic drugs

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A legislative panel on Wednesday recommended that Minnesota lawmakers give the state Board of Pharmacy the power to order businesses to stop selling synthetic drugs.

The panel also proposed a statewide educational campaign on synthetic drugs, expanded drug definitions and training for prosecutors. It also recommended giving the Board of Pharmacy the authority to add products to Minnesota’s list of banned drugs.

Members of the House Select Committee on Controlled Substances and Synthetic Drugs released the report Wednesday to give lawmakers time to consider it during the upcoming legislative session, Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1bzs9RJhttp://bit.ly/1bzs9RJ ) reported.

The panel began its work last year, soon after authorities shut down the Duluth head shop known as the Last Place on Earth and prosecuted its owner for selling banned synthetic drugs.

Despite recent efforts to toughen state drug laws, the problems associated with products such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana continue to grow, said state Rep. Erik Simonson, DFL-Duluth, who chairs the committee. Simonson said a different approach is needed.

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Minn. school bus driver accused of DWI in crash

WINONA, Minn. (AP) - A school bus driver in southeastern Minnesota is accused of being drunk when he lost control of a bus carrying five children and crashed into a ditch.

Fifty-four-year-old Karl Allen Herber of Rollingstone appeared in court Wednesday on a third-degree drunken driving charge. He later posted bail.

Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand says Herber was driving a Lewiston-Altura school bus Tuesday afternoon when he crossed the center line, drove into a ditch and struck several trees.

The sheriff says neither Herber nor the five children on the bus were hurt.

According to the criminal complaint, Herber had a blood-alcohol content of 0.09 percent. Lewiston-Altura superintendent Jeff Apse tells the Winona Daily News (http://bit.ly/1fxRL4whttp://bit.ly/1fxRL4w ) the district has a zero percent standard for school bus drivers.

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Defending champ wins Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - Defending champion Nathan Schroeder has won the 30th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Minnesota.

The Chisholm native crossed the finish line in Duluth just before 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, four days after setting off on the 374-mile race along the north shore of Lake Superior.

It was Schroeder’s third Beargrease Marathon title and his second consecutive win. He said beforehand that he was using it as a warm-up for Alaska’s Iditarod.

A new management team took over the Beargrease and rebooted the Minnesota tradition after the previous volunteer crew announced in October they were canceling the race.

The race is named for John Beargrease, an Ojibwe Indian from Beaver Bay who delivered mail by dogsled along the lake’s north shore in winter from 1879 to 1899.

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