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Nienstedt said Thursday that he wasn’t aware of two sexual child abuse allegations against Walsh until 2010. One of the cases, dating to Walsh’s service in Detroit decades ago, resulted in a monetary settlement for the alleged victim, the archbishop said.
Walsh went public in a 2004 HBO documentary with his view that the Catholic Church betrayed priests by isolating them from sexual intimacy and love. While a priest, Walsh obtained a doctorate in human sexuality. He contended in the documentary that celibacy encouraged a state of arrested development in priests.
Wright County Public Health Director Carol Schefers said Walsh has been teaching birth control, sexual disease prevention and human sexuality for the Wright County Human Services Agency in Buffalo for the past 16 years. She said his employment is under review in light of the recently disclosed sexual abuse allegations, but she has no concerns for the safety of any of the clients he has served.
“He’s a very good educator,” Schefers said.
She said Walsh should have previously disclosed to the county that he faced an abuse allegation from his time in Detroit. She said Walsh was unaware of the second allegation against him until very recently. But she said the county has received only praise about his sex education work, which is always carried out in settings where other supervising adults are present. “There hasn’t be a single complaint,” she said.
According to Walsh’s latest contract with the county, he works with high-risk youth, developmentally disabled people who live in group homes, recovering addicts and adult inmates at the Wright County jail.
Staff writer Richard Meryhew contributed to this report.
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