Diocese Releases More Information on Accused Priests
By Dan Ruiter
June 23, 2014
The Diocese of Winona Monday released much more information on 14 priests accused of abuse in the last 50+ years - and some of the abuse occurred while they were serving parishes in our region. The Diocese did so because of what it calls "an unprecedented effort for transparency and healing."
Nine of the 14 priests on the list are deceased, two have been laicized, and two are pending laicization. Officials with the Winona Diocese say no priests of the Diocese of Winona who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse are still in active ministry.
At least 5 of those 14 accused priests served area churches at the time the allegations were made.
Louis Cook was accused of child abuse that reportedly took place between 1966 and 1969 during the time he was serving parishes in Delevan and Easton. However, it should be noted that four days after the complaint was filed with the Diocese, the alleged victim withdrew her complaint. Father Cook had no other accusations.
William Curtis had a pair of child sexual abuse accusations. One of those complaints was filed during his time in Good Thunder.
Richard Hatch was removed from his duties in 1963; but faced accusations of child sexual abuse and additional accusations while he was serving the Church in Saint James.
Ferdinand Kaiser pleaded guilty to Sodomy charges in 1968 in Waseca County. He was serving a church in Iosco, which is between Janesville and Waseca. He resigned from the ministry in 1968.
Leo Charles Koppala is the only priest in the Winona Diocese facing allegations of abuse that occurred after 2004. Koppala was convicted of 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in March 2014. He's been deported to his native India and his home Diocese in India has been notified of his conviction.
Of the 5 priests named above, Koppala is the only priest still living. The other 9 priests accused of abuse may have served in our area, but the information supplied by the Diocese did not indicate that the abuse occurred while they were serving in our area.