On Aug. 23, the New Ulm Police Department released the following statement:
In January of 2017, the New Ulm Police Department received a report of a juvenile female involved in an inappropriate relationship with Fr. Sam Wagner, a Catholic priest working for the Diocese of New Ulm. Investigators from the New Ulm Police Department initiated an investigation into this report, including conducting several interviews and reviewing digital evidence.
After review of the entire investigatory file, the Brown County Attorney’s Office is declining to initiate prosecution in this matter. At this time, due to lack of evidence and the inability to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, this case will be considered suspended until new evidence is discovered.
On Aug. 26 the Diocese of New Ulm posted the following on their website:
Statement by Diocese of New Ulm concerning Fr. Sam Wagner
The Diocese of New Ulm is aware that the police have suspended their investigation into allegations against Fr. Sam Wagner without charges being filed. The Diocese cooperated fully during the six-month-long investigation conducted by the New Ulm Police Department.
The Diocese takes any allegations of clergy misconduct very seriously, regardless of whether they result in charges. Fr. Wagner remains on leave from public ministry pending a final determination of his status by the Clergy Review Board.
It was recently learned that on Aug. 4 the mother of the juvenile female petitioned the court for an Order for Protection against Wagner, citing “an inappropriate relationship between a 15/16-year-old girl and 33-year-old man; 230 pages of 1,500 messages—day and night.” Brown County District Court Judge Robert Docherty granted a Harassment Restraining Order, which called for Wagner to have no direct or indirect contact with the juvenile; and that he not enter New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.
The order stated, “Respondent can ask the court to change or vacate the Restraining Order by filing a Request for Hearing within 20 days of the date of service of the petition. According to court administration, Wagner requested a hearing which is set for Sept. 25 at 1:15 p.m.