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Continued: Church silent on priest's abuse as it helped him work with kids, files show

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: June 8, 2014 - 7:31 AM

The archdiocese quickly settled with the woman for $13,191.88. At the same time, McCarthy permanently was removed from ministry under terms that paid him twice the normal amount of severance money, church memos said. Kate Zacher-Pate, who heads the state Social Work Board, said the archdiocese never relayed any complaints against McCarthy.

‘Swept under the rug’

McCarthy was out of the priesthood in late 1997 when a 34-year-old Waseca man, near death from “alcohol dependence syndrome,” confided to a relative that McCarthy had abused him as a child, a memo in McCarthy’s file said.

Contacted recently by the Star Tribune, the dead man’s mother said her son and other boys from Elysian went camping with McCarthy in the early 1980s. They made a pact not to tell of the abuse they suffered and none has ever filed a lawsuit, she said.

“It’s horrible to find out some of the things that went on inside your church,” she said. “They swept it all under the rug.”

She took her son’s story to McDonough, pushing for disclosure. “As she said it to me: ‘If I had known this part of what was wrong with him, maybe I could have helped my son before he drank himself to death,” McDonough wrote in a memo.

The file contains McDonough’s memos with concerns that McCarthy’s bosses in Hennepin County might be unaware of his background.

Still, as recently as 2010, the church did not disclose the reasons for McCarthy’s departure from the priesthood.

At that time, McCarthy had been found guilty of a tax-cheating scheme, and the U.S. District Court had asked the church to verify his employment. The archdiocese replied only that McCarthy “gave up the priesthood” in 1991.

McDonough was more blunt in his sworn testimony in the clergy abuse case in April.

“He left when we drove him out in — in 1991,” McDonough said. “I’m very proud of that. I — I lobbied heavily for that to happen.”


Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

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