Bishop Sirba releases names of 17 priests accused of sexual abuse in Duluth Diocese

By KBJR News 1

December 31, 2013 Updated Dec 31, 2013 at 6:37 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Over the last 65 years a number of clergy members have violated a sacred trust placed on them by children, youth and their families.

On Tuesday, Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba announced the names of 17 priests who the diocese believes have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor within the Diocese of Duluth.

During the news conference, officials with the Diocese said the priests on the list have either been removed from the church and are under investigation, or were dead before the accusations were known.

Bishop Sirba says the release of the names underscores a sad truth that must be acknowledged, and he feels by releasing the names it will help victims heal.

Father James Bissonette of the Diocese of Duluth says it's important to get this type of information out to the general public.

"We want the truth to get out there. We want justice to be done. We want people to come to healing and wholeness, and for us bring it into the light. The light of Christ for us," said Father Bissonette.

The Duluth Diocese covers 10 counties in north-eastern Minnesota.

Those from the Duluth Diocese say the list is complete to the best of their knowledge, but they will amend and update it as necessary.

The list of 17 credibly accused priests includes:
- Rev. Kirby Blanchard
- Rev. Louis Brouillard
- Rev. Victor Chateauvert
- Rev. Leonard Colston
- Rev. Raymond Cossette
- Rev. Frederick Fox
- Rev. John Golobich
- Rev. Ralph Goniea
- Rev. Robert Klein
- Rev. Mark Makowski
- Rev. (Thomas) Gregory Manning
- Rev. John Nicholson
- Rev. Dennis Puhl
- Rev. Thomas Stack
- Rev. Joseph Thibaudeau
- Rev. Stephen Toporowitz
- Rev. Angelo Zankl
- Un-named accused person no longer in ministry: The name of a former priest was included in the list provided to the John Jay Study solely on the basis of a single vague and ambiguous allegation that did not identify the priest by name. A subsequent investigation did not produce any further information or corroboration. This individual voluntarily left the priesthood prior to and not related to the allegation. As a result, the diocese is re-investigating this matter but is not releasing the former priest’s name at this time.

Additional accused priests with ties to the area:
- Rev. Cornelius Kelleher
- Rev. Vincent Fitzgerald
- Rev. Othmar Hohmann
- Rev. Richard Jeub
- Rev. Brennen Maiers

Elsa Robins
erobins@kbjr.com

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