Victims Say Archdiocese Priest List Is Incomplete
December 19, 2013
When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released of a list of priests accused of sexually abusing minors, it prompted complaints from victims' groups that it was incomplete.
Harry Walsh wasn't on the list of 30 priests. But church documents obtained by Minnesota Public Radio show he'd been accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl and 12-year-old altar boy decades earlier. The archdiocese contributed to a financial settlement for the girl. Nonetheless, two archbishops allowed him to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011.
Walsh tells MPR he never abused children.
Archbishop John Nienstedt asked Pope Benedict last year to defrock Walsh when he learned of the abuse allegations, and Walsh agreed to leave.
Archdiocese spokesman Jim Accurso wouldn't say why Walsh wasn't on the public list.
KARE 11 editorial partner Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) reports that Walsh now teaches sex education to troubled teenagers and vulnerable adults in Wright County. He signed a new two-year, $1,508 a month contract earlier this year, according to public records, to provide "medically accurate sexuality education, pregnancy prevention and STI prevention to high risk youth or adults."
A spokesperson for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) blasted the Archdiocese Thursday, saying that Walsh's name should have been on the list of priests credibly accused of sexually abuse.
Carol Schefers, Wright County Public Health Director, says the first she heard of the allegations against Walsh was yesterday. She tells KARE 11 that Walsh was hired as an educator and is never alone with any of the County's clients. There is always at least one other adult in the room when adolescents are involved.
Schefers added that the county has received nothing but complements from both adults and adolescents about Walsh's work. She says it would have been good to know about the allegations and Wright County would have considered them before making the hire. The County Attorney, and others are reviewing the situation.