Priest Admits Abuse

Wisconsin State Journal [Madison WI]
February 19, 1994

A Capuchin priest and former rector of St. Lawrence Preparatory Seminary in Fond du Lac County acknowledged in a sworn deposition that he abused seven former students, a newspaper reported Friday.

The Milwaukee Journal said Gale Leifeld's testimony on Feb. 10 largely confirmed student allegations reported by the newspaper in late 1992 and early 1993. The newspaper interviewed two dozen former students who alleged that they had been abused by friars at the school.

In the deposition, Leifeld, 65, names four people he says he abused, The Journal said. Questioned by Robert Elliott, a lawyer representing several former students who claim in lawsuits they were abused by Leifeld, the former wasn't able to refer to three other children by name, the newspaper said.

The deposition was taken in anticipation of a trial of a lawsuit filed in Fond du lac County in which a former student who is now a Detroit-area priest alleges that he was abused by Leifeld between 1974 and 1978.

Gerald Boyle, who represents Leifeld, told The Journal that "the Capuchins are doing the best they can with this case."

He said Leifeld no longer has contact with young people and that the religious order has taken other steps, including 24-hour supervision. (The following paragraphs were not published.) Leifeld said in the deposition he now lives in Milwaukee near a parish staffed by Capuchin priests. A telephone listing under his name is unpublished. The newspaper said it couldn't reach Leifeld.

After The Journal reported the allegations of abuse, the Capuchins hired a lawyer to investigate. In May, the lawyer reported there was reason to believe that 14 students had been abused at the school and that six friars were involved. None was named.


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