Breaking the Silence

The Journal

May 29, 2016
The Journal

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles The Journal is publishing on the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests in the New Ulm Diocese. Today’s article tells the story of Leon, who doesn’t wish his last name to be used, who was abused in Glencoe by Fr. Michael Skoblik.

Next Sunday: The church faces the future.

By Kevin Sweeney
Journal Editor

Leon remembers trying never to be the last altar boy out of the sacristy after mass in St. George Parish in Glencoe.

That’s usually when Fr. Michael Skoblik would molest him.

“I would show up one minute before mass, and try to be out of there as soon as possible afterward so as not to be the last one,” said Leon, who has asked that his last name not be used. “The other altar boys also rushed to get out of there, so I wonder if maybe they had been approached, too.”

Being an altar boy was a natural for Leon, who grew up in a devout Catholic family. Born in 1951, Leon was about 12 or 13 when the molestation began. It lasted two years. Leon said he couldn’t avoid Skoblik entirely, in part because of his family’s devotion to the church.

Leon liked to earn money to supplement his allowance, he said. He worked odd jobs mowing lawns and shoveling show, and took a paper route to help raise some money. Skoblik was one of his customers.

Skoblik would give altar boys a nickel for serving mass on weekdays, and a dime on Sundays.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.