More Accuse Former Priest of Sex Abuse

Wisconsin State Journal
January 26, 1995

Three more individuals claiming anonymity have filed lawsuits against the Diocese of La Crosse claiming sexual abuse by a former priest who now lives in New Hampshire.

The three lawsuits are similar in allegations to a suit refiled in December on behalf of "Tom Doe." All four plaintiffs claim sexual abuse by the Rev. Thomas Dempsey, a priest who served various parishes in the diocese in the 1960s.

One man, 43, claims the abuse occurred in 1964 when he was 13 and Dempsey was assistant pastor at Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

Another man, 45, claims he was abused in 1965 at St. Phillips Catholic Church rectory, Soldiers Grove, where Dempsey was living while serving as parish priest, the complaint said. The third man, 44, also claims abuse in 1965 in St. Phillips rectory. (The following 2 paragraphs were unpublished)

The accusations against Dempsey say the abuse consisted of fondling and simulated anal intercourse through clothing. The lawsuits claim the diocese is negligent because it knew at the time about other complaints against Dempsey and failed to remove him from jobs where he had contact with young boys.

The lawyer representing the four men is Jeffrey Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., attorney who specializes in sexual abuse cases involving charges against clergy.

James Birnbaum, the diocese's lawyer, said Wednesday that the diocese has known about the three men's allegations for some time and that the charges have been investigated and found to be without merit.


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