Winona Diocese Posts Names of Priests

By Jodelle Greiner
The Fairmont Sentinel
December 17, 2013

WINONA?- The Diocese of Winona released a statement Monday by Bishop John M. Quinn that included a list of priests with credible accusations of abuse.

The diocese covers southern Minnesota. The list includes 14 priests, nine of whom are deceased.

Leo Charles Koppala of Blue Earth was the only priest listed as being accused of abuse since 2004. He currently faces a criminal sexual conduct charge in Faribault County.

Ramsey County District Court had ordered public release of the names of the priests.

"In 2002, the National Review board commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a blind study to determine the nature and scope of child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the United States," the statement from the diocese reads. "Each diocese in the United States was contacted by John Jay College and was required to report the number of priests within its diocese who had 'credible' accusations of abuse."

"The national study concluded that approximately 4 percent of priests in ministry in the United States had accusations of abuse made against them," the statement reads. "The study also found that the annual number of incidents of sexual abuse of minors by priests increased steadily to a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s and then declined sharply after 1985."

The oldest priest on the list, Ferdinand L. Kaiser, was born in 1910 and ordained in 1937. He served at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Blue Earth from 1943 to 1944. He voluntarily resigned in 1968. He died in 1973.

Sylvester F. Brown was born in 1930 and ordained in 1956. He served at Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth and Our Lady of Mercy in Guckeen from 1974 to 1981. He died in 2010.

Louis G. Cook was born in 1924 and ordained in 1958. He served at St. John Vianney in Fairmont from 1962 to 1966; at Mater Dolorosa in Delavan and at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Easton from 1966 to 1969. He died in 2004.

Richard H. Hatch was born in 1927 and ordained in 1954. He served at St. John Vianney in Fairmont from 1954 to 1957; and at St. James in St. James from 1960 to 1962. He voluntarily ceased ministerial duties and permanently left the Diocese of Winona in the 1960s. He died in 2005.

Leland J. Smith was born in 1927 and ordained in 1953. He served at Saints Peter and Paul in Blue Earth from 1953 to 1954; St. Wenceslaus in Jackson from 1955 to 1960; and St. Casimir in Wells. His ministerial privileges had been indefinitely suspended since 1994; defrocking is pending in a tribunal. He currently lives in Winona.

Robert H. Taylor was born in 1930 and ordained in 1956. He served at St. Katherine in Truman from 1985 to 1990. He was suspended from the ministry in 1995.

The other priests - Thomas P. Adamson, Joseph C. Cashman, William D. Curtis, John R. Feinten, Jack Krough, Michael J. Kuisle and James W. Lennon - served in St. James, Mapleton, Good Thunder, Albert Lea, Rochester, Austin and Winona, among other places in southern Minnesota.


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