The Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., on Saturday night released the names of 25 clergy members who have been credibly accused of child abuse, including a former education director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis who also served as president of Viterbo University in La Crosse.
None of the accused is in current ministry and 18 have died, the diocese said. Sixteen had multiple substantiated allegations against them.
“Our response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis now includes a most essential ingredient: the disclosure of the names …” Bishop William Patrick Callahan wrote in an open letter posted on the diocese’s website. “The Church must again confess to this evil and pledge our prayers and support to all victims and their families.”
In the letter, he encouraged all victims to come forward. The website includes information on how to report abuse both to police and to the diocese.
John Thomas Finucan, one of the clergy members named, served as director of education for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1986 to 1989. He also was the president of Viterbo University from 1970 to 1980 and later was on the school’s board of trustees.
The Viterbo University board issued a statement Saturday in response: “We condemn clergy abuse of any kind, and we pray for all survivors and their families, including those who were harmed in the past by clergy. We support the Diocese’s recent public acknowledgment of past abuses, and we hope this action helps survivors and their families as they try to heal.”
Those accused of abuse during their work in the diocese: Bruce Ball, Raymond Bornbach, Eugene Comiskey, Thomas Dempsey, James Ennis, James Finucan, John Thomas Finucan, Tom Garthwaite, Richard Herrmann, William Hertzenberg, Thomas Langer, James E. Mason, Garland Muller, Charles Rasmussen, Albert Sonnberger, James Stauber, Patrick Umberger and Raymond J. Wagner.
Nondiocesan clergy, such as a priest or deacon from a religious order or from a diocese other than La Crosse accused of misconduct while the individual was serving in the Diocese of La Crosse: Timothy Svea and Bogdan Werra.
Nondiocesan clergy who spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse against whom allegations were substantiated by another diocese or religious order: Dennis Bouche, Daniel Budzynski, Orville Munie, Joseph Smetana and Francis Zimmerer.
Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234