Crookston Diocese names 6 priests accused of abusing minors
- January 28, 2014 - 10:45 AM
The Catholic Diocese of Crookston has released the names of six priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors. The action means that all Minnesota dioceses except New Ulm have released lists of accused priests that have been kept secret for a decade.
Five of the six priests on Crookston’s list are dead. The sixth, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, is facing extradition from his home in India to face charges that he sexually assaulted two teenage girls while he worked in the Crookston diocese between 2004 and 2005.
“To any victims of these men I would say that we are saddened and sorrowful for the terrible harm done to you by men placed in a position of trust,” the Rev. David Baumgartner, Vicar General of the Crookston Diocese, wrote in a statement.
He urged any victims of abuse to report the incidents to police and church officials.
Advocates immediately urged the diocese to post the list prominently on its website and make it easily accessible to the public.
“We strongly suspect it’s an incomplete list,” said David Clohesey, national executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). “And we strongly suspect that Catholic officials took this step because they feared that a judge would soon order them to do so.”
The list involves clergy who have been the subject of lawsuits, such as Jeyapaul and the Rev. James Porter, and names previously revealed to victims’ attorneys, said Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Anderson & Associates of St. Paul.
Jeyapaul, for example, was accused of “multiple occasions of sexual assault” of a teenage girl. She and the diocese reached an out-of-court settlement in 2011, but criminal charges are still pending against Jeyapaul.
Others on the list are:
• James Porter, who admitted abusing children in five states. Porter served as pastor of St. Bernard’s church in Bemidji from 1969 to ’70 and was a key figure in the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He died in 2005.
• The Rev. Stanley Bourassa, ordained in 1955, who served parishes in Red Lake Falls, Crookston, Bemidji, East Grand Forks, St. Lawrence, Barnsville and Sabin. He died in 2004.
• The Rev. Henry Carriere, ordained in 1946, who served parishes in Crookston, Fertile, Bemidji, Argyle, Guthrie, Laporte, Brooks, Plummer, Terrebone, Argyle and Badger. He died in 2003.
• The Rev. Vincent Fitzgerald, ordained in 1950. He worked at parishes in Kelliher, Shooks, Naytahwaush, Big Elbow Lake and White Earth. He died in 2009.
• The Rev. Francis Reid, ordained in 1964, who served in churches in Crookston, Bemidji, Argyle, Thief River Falls, Waubun, Akeley, Nevis, Ponsford, Mahnomen, Park Rapids, Two Inlets and Lake Itasca. He was removed from the ministry in 1992 and died in 2007.
Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511
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