Former Winona County priest charged with criminal sexual conduct

Court records show a former Winona County priest has been charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

According to a criminal complaint filed earlier this month, the now 50-year-old Ubaldo Huerta of Rushmore, Minn., allegedly met with a friend on Dec. 13 and 14 of 2020 in Winona County for drinks.

The complaint doesn’t provide any details regarding the friend’s gender or age.

The complaint goes on to say they got together at the friend’s home, and the priest’s friend got very drunk, and somehow became undressed.

Huerta allegedly undressed his friend due to the placement of where the clothes were found, and after eventually going to the friend’s bedroom, Huerta touched his friend in a sexual manner, the complaint states.

The document also says when Huerta’s friend woke up, the friend claimed Huerta was performing sexual acts, and kissed his friend on the neck – none of which had been consensual.

Huerta then denied doing anything when his friend contacted him afterwards, the complaint states.

If convicted, the gross misdemeanor charge carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Huerta’s next court date is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Hubbard owned television affiliate KAAL reports Huerta was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Winona-Rochester on June 28, 2008, and hasn’t had an assignment within the diocese since 2018. In addition, Huerta’s faculties were suspended in Nov. 2019, and the diocese was working toward his laicization at the time of the alleged criminal activity.

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester provided a statement to KAAL, saying they have been working and cooperating with law enforcement regarding the allegations in the matter, and encourages anyone who was victimized or assaulted to report it to law enforcement immediately.

KAAL also reports Huerta did ministry work for Hispanic communities within the diocese.