Newest List of Accused Priests Includes 11 from Area
By Robb Murray
Mankato Free Press
December 16, 2013
Eleven of the 14 priests whose names are on the list of Winona Diocese priests accused of sexually abusing minors served at parishes in the Mankato area.
The list of names, released by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona, was filed Monday morning in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, a day before the deadline set by a Ramsey County judge.
One of the priests, Joseph Cashman, served at St. John the Baptist Church in Mankato as well as Loyola High School. He also served at St. Joseph in Good Thunder. No Loyola school officials would comment and instead referred media to a spokeswoman for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who in turn also declined to comment.
Cashman, who did not immediately return a phone call to his Texas home from The Free Press, started his career at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona. After two assignments in Rochester he was assigned to Loyola High School in 1967 and St. Joseph in Good Thunder. After stints in Rochester and Mantorville, he returned to Mankato to work at St. John the Baptist. He finished his professional career in Caledonia in 1985. His ministerial privileges were suspended in 1992. Laicization — also known as "defrocking" — is pending.
The Free Press called area churches where the named priests worked. In one case, the current priest had no knowledge of the names being released. Two others declined to comment and instead referred media to the communications director at the Winona Diocese office, who did not immediately return phone calls Monday. Others area pastors were unavailable.
The Winona diocese issued a statement Monday from Bishop John M. Quinn regarding the release of the names. Quinn's statement describes the 2002 study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice that resulted in the compilation of a list of names of priests who stand "credibly accused" of sexual abuse.
"The methodology of the national study encouraged over-reporting and the study specifically directed each diocese not to engage in the endeavor of weighing the credibility of any of the accusations out of concern that the data produced by the study would arguably be invalid because of subjective determinations as to the credibility of, or substantiation of, the allegation(s)."
Quinn goes on to say, "The Diocese of Winona is committed to the protection of young people and adherence to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and encourages anyone who has been sexual abused to immediately report the abuse to law enforcement or the proper authorities."
Other priests on the list of accused abusers who served at Mankato-area parishes were:
• Sylvester F. Brown, who served in Owatonna, Winona and Lake Wilson before moving to SS. Peter and Paul in Blue Earth in the 1970s, and Immaculate Conception in St. Clair, St. Ann in Janesville and St. Joseph in Waldorf from 1989 to 2007. He died in 2010.
• Louis G. Cook, who served in Winona and Fairmont before moving to Mater Dolorosa in Delavan and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Easton in 1966. He died in 2004.
• William D. Curtis, who served in Winona, Rochester, Fountain, St. Joseph, Jasper, Hokah, Brewster, Worthington and Albert Lea before moving to St. Joseph in Good Thunder in 1984 and at St. Theresa in Mapleton in 1976. He died in 2001.
• Richard H. Hatch, who served in Fairmont and Pipestone before moving to St. James in St. James in 1960. He voluntarily ceased ministerial duties and permanently left the diocese in the 1960s. He died in 2005.
• Ferdinand L. Kaiser, who served Kellogg, Wabasha and Caledonia before moving to SS. Peter and Paul in Blue Earth in 1944 and All Saints in New Richland in 1952. He voluntarily resigned in 1968. He died in 1973.
• Jack L. Krough, who served in Austin, Winona and Rochester before moving to All Saints in New Richland and St. Joseph in Waldorf in 1990. He later worked in Rochester and Brownsdale, and now lives in Barron, Wis. His ministerial privileges were suspended indefinitely in 2002. Laicization is pending.
• James W. Lennon, who served in Winona, Rochester, Minneiska, Elba, Altura and Heron Lake before moving to St. James in St. James in 1978. He later worked in Plainview before voluntarily leaving active ministry in 1984. He died in 2000.
• Leland J. Smith, who served at SS. Peter and Paul in Blue Earth in 1953 and St. Casmir in Wells in 1960. He also worked in Rochester, Jackson, Lake Wilson, Rollingstone, Oak Ridge, St. Charles, Houston, Wilson and Kellogg. His ministerial privileges were suspended in 1994. Laicization is pending.
• Robert H. Taylor, who served in Rochester, Winona and Dakota before moving to St. Mary in Madelia in 1984, Holy Family in Lake Crystal and St. Katherine in Truman in 1985. He was suspended from the ministry in 1995. He died in 2012.
• Leo Charles Koppala, who entered the diocese from India in 2008 and worked in Rochester before moving to SS. Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and St. Mary in Winnebago in 2009. He was placed on administrative leave in June pending the outcome of a criminal case.
Attorneys for abuse victims have long sought such lists by saying it's in the interest of public safety. Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis published the names of 34 priests accused of abuse under the same judicial order.