Lawsuits Name Three Former Area Priests As Child Abusers
By Suzy Rook
Le Sueur News-Herald
April 15, 2016
Three sexual abuse survivors have identified three priests from the Diocese of New Ulm as child abusers.
The priests, all ordained in the diocese, are being publicly named for the first time.
Fr. Bernard Steiner was ordained in 1964 and worked in several parishes throughout southern and west-central Minnesota during his clerical career, including parishes and schools in Lafayette, Jessenland and Henderson.
Steiner retired from active ministry in 2005. His accuser is alleging the abuse occurred at the Church of St. Paul in Comfrey in the 1970s.
Fr. Richard Gross was ordained in 1962 and worked in parishes in New Ulm, Taunton, Rosen, Hutchinson and Watkins. Gross retired from ministry in 2003. The abuse in the Gross case is alleged to have occurred in the mid-1960s at St. Mary’s parish in New Ulm.
Fr. Edward Ardolf was ordained in 1964 and retired from active ministry in 2012. During his clerical career, Ardolf worked in several parishes and schools in New Ulm (including Cathedral High School), North Mankato (including Loyola High School), Sleepy Eye, Nicollet as well as others in the region. The sexual abused by Gross is alleged to have taken place at St. Raphael’s in Springfield.
The lawsuits were brought under a 2013 law passed allowing child sexual abuse survivors to bring cases against the perpetrators who abused them and any institution who may have covered up the abuse. The deadline to file a legal claim is May 25.
“We applaud the courage and strength of all three survivors in coming forward and sharing their truths,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “Our children and communities are safer because these brave survivors chose to speak out and share their stories.”