Diocese of Winona releases names of priests accused of child abuse

  • Updated: December 16, 2013 - 11:07 PM

Among those accused of child sex abuse were parish priests, a high school principal and teachers.

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This Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 photo shows the Diocese of Winona office in Winona, Minn.

Photo: Andrew Link, Associated Press - Ap

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The Diocese of Winona disclosed the names Monday of 14 priests who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with children, a list that it compiled a decade ago.

They include a high school principal, parish priests, a hospital chaplain and seminary instructors. Their alleged abuse occurred from the 1960s through the 1980s. Nine are dead.

Already victims’ advocates are calling for more details of the accusations against them. Most of the priests had never been publicly revealed. Yet they served a large Minnesota diocese, with an estimated 134,000 Catholics and 110 parishes spread across southern Minnesota, including the cities of Rochester, Albert Lea, Mankato and Winona.

“Over the past few decades, a number of clergy members in the Diocese of Winona sadly have been accused of violating the sacred trust placed in them by children, youth and their families and were accused of detestable crimes of sexual abuse,” said a statement by Winona Bishop John Quinn. “For this I am truly sorry.” The brief statement also described how the list was compiled and encouraged victims of abuse to come forward.

A Ramsey County District Court judge ordered the list unsealed earlier this month as part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a man who said he was abused by former priest Thomas Adamson, who had been accused of molesting a number of boys in the Winona diocese before being transferred to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The third such “secret list” made public in two weeks followed similar disclosures by the archdiocese and St. John’s Abbey of Collegeville.

“This is different from the lists of the archdiocese and St. John’s Abbey, because many of those priests were known,” said Patrick Wall, victim advocate at Anderson & Associates, a St. Paul-based law firm whose lawsuit prompted the archdiocese and Winona’s actions.

“You have the biggest number of new disclosures in Winona,” he said. “It’s going to be a complete shock to people.”

The list includes the Rev. Joseph Cashman, a former principal at Lourdes High School in Rochester, where three of the priests had worked in the 1960s, and the late Monsignor Richard Feiten, who served at St. Pius X Church in Rochester, which also hosted three of the priests in the 1980s.

50 years of records

All but one of the names released Monday were on the list prepared by the diocese in 2002 for the U.S. Conference of Bishops. Dioceses were asked to review 50 years of records and submit data for the study, which was released in 2004.

Quinn, in his statement, claimed that the study “encouraged overreporting” because it didn’t direct dioceses to weigh the credibility of accusations.

Any priests who have been credibly accused of child abuse since then are supposed to be added to the list. Ramsey County Judge John Van de North ordered newer names to be made public by Jan. 6.

Only one of the names on the Winona list is well known in the Twin Cities: Adamson, 80, a former priest now living in Rochester who was also on the archdiocese’s list of accused priests released Dec. 5. He was the subject of at least 10 lawsuits in the 1980s related to sexual abuse of boys.

Other priests named include: Sylvester Brown, Joseph Cashman, Louis Cook, William Curtis, Richard Hatch, Ferdinand Kaiser, Jack Krough, Michael Kuisle, James Lennon, Leland Smith, Robert Taylor and Leo Koppala.

Only five are still alive: Adamson, Cashman, Krough, Smith and Koppala. The Star Tribune was not able to reach them for comment.

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