The Bishop believes.
Bishop John Quinn, at a Monday-morning news conference the Diocese of Winona held to release new information on sexual abuse alleged against 13 former priests of the Winona diocese, said he believes the abuse actually did take place.
"They don't make these things up," he said of those who have come forward to report sexual abuse.
Quinn spoke candidly and at length about the cases, acknowledging the "deep wounds" inflicted by abusive clergy and offering his apologies to "anyone who has been harmed."
"Words cannot express my deep sorrow," he said.
Prior to the bishop's statement, the Diocese distributed a summary of the accusations made against each priest, including a photo, brief biography and a list of their pastoral assignments, as well as the number of accusations made against each and when they were made.
The information, which did not go into detail about any of the accusations, built upon the list of names the diocese released in December 2013 in response to an ongoing lawsuit against both the diocese and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.
Quinn stressed that all of the accused men are either dead or have been removed from ministry in the church. "There is not a single priest in the Diocese of Winona who is credibly accused of sexual abuse," Quinn said.
David Clohessy, the director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national support group for victims of clergy abuse, released a statement Monday saying that releasing the information was not enough. He called on Quinn to reveal the locations of the five priests still living.
"Information on abuse is good. Action on abuse is better," he said in the statement.
One of the five, Leo Koppala, was recently deported to India after being convicted of criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from an incident where he admitted to fondling a girl. Joseph C. Cashman lives in Dallas, Texas. Leland J. Smith lives in Winona. Jack L. Krough's whereabouts are unknown.
Thomas Adamson, the highest-profile name on the list, lives in Rochester. He is the subject of an ongoing case and recently testified that he abused at least 12 boys.
Quinn said that since he was installed as bishop in 2009, he has initiated laicization proceedings against Smith, Krough, and Cashman. Proceedings against Smith concluded with his removal from the priesthood in April; the remaining two are awaiting action by the Vatican.
"The priesthood carries with it a bond of trust," Quinn said. "When that bond of trust is broken, it cannot be restored."
In speaking with victims, Quinn said, "(I) learned how painful the wounds of abuse are ... they do not go away."
"No words I can offer can ever minimize the harm..."
Quinn stressed that current church policy represents a complete break with the past. Until the 1980s, it was widely held that pedophile abusers could be treated and rehabilitated. There are many documented instances of attempted rehabilitation for several of the priests on the list, with some sent to clinics and programs multiple times.
"That was a mistake," Quinn said.
Under current policy, "no priest with even one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor can serve in public ministry," he said. To further assure the safety of children involved in Catholic schools, parishes and youth programs, the Diocese has required over 30,000 criminal background checks and screenings for diocesan clergy, lay employees and volunteers.
If and when an accusation or allegation of abuse is brought to the attention of anyone within the diocese it is to be immediately reported to the police for investigation. "Nothing will be hidden or dismissed," Quinn said.
Quinn said the information released Monday was compiled with the concern to protect the identity of victims and the innocent and to comply "with privacy laws related to medical and mental-health information." The abuse occurred primarily in the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the men on the list had multiple accusations of abuse brought against them, from both boys and girls.
Adamson, the information revealed, has 36 accusations of child sexual abuse on record with the diocese, beginning in 1964 and continuing through two decades of ministry, stopping only when one of his victims came forward publicly in 1984. He continues to draw a monthly pension check from the diocese, as required by law, the diocese has said.
Adamson never faced criminal abuse charges — the statute of limitations had expired. But in addition to lawsuits currently before the court, he has been accused of sexual abuse in three civil suits settled out of court, and a fourth suit brought against the Diocese of Winona and the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis was decided in favor of the complainant.
Quinn said the Church needed to acknowledge the sins of the past "in order for people to believe what we are doing (now) is different."
"There is still a lot we have to do."