Former Onalaska Priest Charged with Child Pornography Dies

November 30, 2010

A former Onalaska priest facing child pornography charges has died.

60 year old Father Patrick Umberger passed away Tuesday at an assisted living facility after a long battle with cancer.

Those who knew Father Umberger were not surprised to hear about his passing. They tell News 8 he had been sick for a number of years and doctors recently discovered the cancer had come back.

Umberger had been at St. Patrick's church since 2005. He resigned from his priest duties in July, however, after being arrested. According to court records, investigators found a number of sexual pictures of children on his computer.

He was also investigated for allegedly acting suspicious at a Wisconsin Dells waterpark. There are mixed emotions from those who knew him at his church about his passing. "There are a lot of questions that are going to be unanswered and for some people, that's going to be very bothersome. For others, they're going to say let's just let this go away," says parishioner Joe Chilsen.

Umberger was scheduled to go on trial next year. His attorney says the allegations took quite a toll on his client. But, he says, Umberger maintained his innocence until his death. "To this point, literally, to this point, we still had not seen any evidence to show that there was any pornography on his computer. The fact that he spent the last few months of his life dealing with this situation is really frustrating," says Umberger's Attorney Keith Belzer.

Despite the allegations, both people we spoke with did say there were a lot of people at St. Patrick's that have missed Father Umberger's presence at the church.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.