Friends, Family, Defend Late Priest Accused of Abuse

KBZK [Montana]
February 21, 2006

HAVRE People on the Fort Belknap reservation are coming to the defense of a late Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting a boy while serving in Alaska.

Friends and family members of Father Bernard McMeel say they don't believe the allegations for a minute.McMeel and another priest are named in a lawsuit by a man who says the two molested him when he was a boy in the late 1960s living in Alaska.McMeel came to Hays in 1978 after leaving Alaska, and served St. Paul's Mission Church until his death in the early 1990s. The second priest is retired and now lives in Hungary.McMeel's niece, Marcia Kostas of Great Falls, says she can't believe for a minute that McMeel would have molested anyone.Sister Laura Fucito, who works on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, served with McMeel.She says he always conducted himself professionally and there were never any complaints against him.


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