Posted at: 12/31/2013 11:24 AM
Updated at: 12/31/2013 10:43 PM
The Duluth Diocese has released a list of names of priests who they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
The men worked all over the Northland, and the years for the allegations spanned from 1950 to the present. Most of the clergymen are deceased.
The list has been in the works for several weeks. The goal of releasing it, according to Bishop Paul Sirba, is to encourage hope and healing for victims.
Sirba said most of the information came from the 2004 John Jay study, which was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Bishops, to look at the causes and context of abuse.
Sirba did acknowledge that a recently filed lawsuit asking the diocese to release the names did play a role.
Anyone who believes they have more information about these priests is encouraged to call the Diocese and law enforcement.
Here's the list. 14 are no longer living.
1) Rev. Kirby Blanchard
2) Rev. Louis Brouillard
3) Rev. Victor Chateauvert
4) Rev. Leonard Colston
5) Rev. Raymond Cossette
6) Rev. Frederick Fox
7) Rev. John Golobich
8) Rev. Ralph Goniea
9) Rev. Robert Klein
10) Rev. Mark Makowski
11) Rev. (Thomas) Gregory Manning
12) Rev. John Nicholson
13) Rev. Dennis Puhl
14) Rev. Thomas Stack
15) Rev. Joseph Thibaudeau
16) Rev. Stephen Toporowitz
17) Rev. Angelo Zankl
18) 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.)
You can read more about the priests' backgrounds at dioceseduluth.org.
Also, the diocese released the names of four men who worked within the region, but were from other orders or dioceses and have been been on other lists of alleged abusers. They are:
1) Rev. J. Vincent Fitzgerald
2) Rev. Othmas Hohmann
3) Rev. Richard Jeub
4) Rev. Brennen Maiers
The name of Rev. Cornelius Kelleher was released in October this year, and was included in the full list as well.
The SNAP network has responded to the list being released. Verne Wagner, NE MN director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said this:
"We are glad that Bishop Sirba is releasing the names of credibly accused priests here in the Northland. Kids are safer every time a child molester is exposed. Having more names of predator priests in the news today in Duluth is a first step in transparency, outreach to victims and support for them.
"But this is a first step, and we hope Bishop Sirbat take. With the release of these predator priests, we also hope the bishop includes photos of these clerics as well as their history.
"When I filed my lawsuit against the Duluth Diocese and it made the news, other victims of Fr. John Nickelson called me saying they thought they were the only ones he molested. This information should never have been kept secret.
"For the church to move forward, it’s important that all this information come out to learn how to never repeat it so Catholic officials can better protect kids right now. Still, we hope today's disclosure will prod others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Minnesota to step forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
"As a SNAP member and volunteer, I urge victims of these priests to contact us for support. So many victims carry this secret their whole lives and talk about how it causes them depression and shame. This shame and depression can cause substance abuse, relationship problems and even suicide as one of Northland victim did. We have a support group that meets monthly here in the Northland and telling your story sometimes for the first time to anyone is very healing. I urge victims to contact SNAP at www.snapnetwork.org."