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Duluth Diocese Releases List of Priests Accused of Abuse

Updated: 01/29/2014 5:07 PM
Created: 12/31/2013 12:22 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart

The Duluth Diocese has released a list of names of priests who they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

KSTP sister station WDIO reports 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.

Anyone who believes they have more information about these priests is encouraged to call the Diocese and law enforcement.

Here's the list, according to WDIO. 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.)

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 Sirba will open and release files and documents that tell where and when alleged abuse took place, and the actions that the Bishops did or didn’t 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.”


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