MINNEAPOLIS - The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has disclosed the names of 34 priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors.
The names were made public Thursdayfollowing months of criticism that church leaders mishandled allegations of abuse. Archbishop John Nienstedt says he hopes the move will restore trust.
The archdiocese says it has substantiated claims against 30 priests on the list. The remaining four have claims against them that could not be substantiated, but the archdiocese released them after a court order.
The information includes the clerics' names, parishes where they served, and other details. It does not include details of the allegations.
Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that seven of the priests namedThursday were not previously known to the public as accused abusers. Five of those seven are still living. Others, such as the Rev. Robert Kapoun, are already well known through lawsuits and media coverage. About one-third of the priests on the list are dead.
Archbishop John Nienstedtsays he hopes the disclosure of names of priests who have been accused of sexually abusing minors will help restore trust in the church and foster healing for those who have been harmed.
Nienstedt made the comments Thursday in a column in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit.
He says the 34 names disclosed in the newspaper are not intended to be a final list. He says a review of clergy files is under way, and the list could be updated. Going forward, new abuse claims that can be substantiated will be disclosed on the archdiocese website.
He also apologized to victims, and says he is committed to combatting sexual abuse and ensuring it is never repeated in the church.
St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson has filed lawsuits for a number of sexual abuse survivors. "Today our communities are safer, survivors know that they are not alone, and law enforcement will have more information about the crimes committed within this Archdiocese," said Anderson in a written statement. "We applaud each and every courageous survivor who has broken the silence and fought for this day."
At a press conference with alleged victims on Thursday afternoon, Anderson continued his praise for the "courageous survivors," without whom, he argued, the list would not have been released.
"I'm just grateful that the names came out and people will know who these people are. And hopefully, that kids will be safer and ultimately, that this will stop," said Jamie Heutmaker, an alleged victim.
"I'm very pleased that the list is out. I think it's the right step. But it's a tiny step. They need to follow the rules like you and I. They need to follow the rules that if a crime is reported, they need to report it to the police," said Jim Keenan, who said he was abused by a priest decades ago.
Most of the names being released already have been in the media. All of the men have been permanently removed from ministry.
Of the 34 priests named, we are showing you the following names because they have had lawsuits filed against them or been involved in some kind of legal action.
- Thomas Adamson
- Cosmas Dahlheimer (deceased)
- Gilbert Desutter
- Gilbert Gustafson
- Louis Heitzer (deceased)
- Rudolph Henrich (deceased)
- Francis Hoefgen
- Dennis Kampa
- Robert Kapoun
- Jerome Kern
- Lee Krautkramer
- Ronan Liles
- Alfred Longley (deceased)
- Brennan Miers
- John McGrath
- Francis Reynolds
- Richard Skluzacek (deceased)
- Michael Stevens
- Thomas Stitts (deceased)
- Robert Thurner
- Clarence Vavra
- Joseph Wajda
- Raymond Walter (deceased)
- Curtis Wehmeyer
- Robert Zasacki (deceased)