Church Documents Detail Abuse
By Julie Nelson and Steve Eckert
ST. PAUL, Minn. - A Ramsey County judge is scheduled to
hear arguments Tuesday on whether top Catholic Church officials
should be forced to testify under oath in a civil case brought by
an abuse victim.
On the eve of the hearing, KARE 11 News has obtained
confidential church records documenting a pattern of abuse that
dates back decades.
At the center, two alleged victims. Two accused priests.
And one stunning swap.
Before sitting down with KARE 11, Sally Olson had never
told her story publicly. She says she was abused when she was
just 15 when a priest approached her after confession.
"We had finished confession and he grabbed me and he
brought me toward him," she says. "And held me and said, 'I am
going to kiss you.' And he did."
Sally says she's decided to speak out now because she
thinks her case is part of a disturbing pattern of cover-ups by
"At some point you have to say: No more."
We wanted to know more about Sally's story, so KARE 11
has been reviewing documents that show she was just one of more
than a dozen women - and teenagers - allegedly preyed upon over
the years by Father Richard Jeub.
Internal church records list vulnerable women with whom
he was "sexually active". They include:
Father Jeub has denied the most serious allegations.
- A woman "blind with diabetes"
- A "student nurse he befriended"
- "The wife" of a heart attack victim when Father Jeub
was "a hospital chaplain"
- Even a "nun he was counseling"
But under oath, in a deposition we found, he admitted
"kissing" several teenage girls "on the lips" repeatedly.
"I then went home," Sally remembers, "and thought: I'm
never gonna talk about this for the rest of my life."
Years later, when Sally finally had the courage to
report her abuse to the church, she agreed to settle her case
quietly in return for cash – and, she says, an important promise
from a top church official, Father Kevin McDonough.
"I know Father McDonough looked at me and said: He will
never be in another parish with a school attached to it."
Turns out, Sally isn't the only one who claims to have
gotten a promise like that.
Al Michaud says he was just 15 when he was abused in a
swimming pool by a different priest, Father Jerome Kern.
"That was his M.O," Al said. "He somehow liked to get
kids in water. 'Cause what happens below the water you can't
But church records obtained by KARE 11 show that Al
wasn't Father Kern's first victim. Almost a decade earlier local
parents had sent a handwritten letter to church officials.
It accused Father Kern of taking two boys "swimming" at
Lake Nokomis and putting his hand "under (one boy's) suit" and
"inside" the other boy's "jeans".
After the complaint, the Archdiocese decided to transfer
Father Kern. It was 1969, about the same time Father Jeub was
Ironically, the two priests simply swapped parishes.
Al says that left Father Kern free to target more boys
-- including him. "All they did with these priests is shuffle
When he reported the abuse to the church years later, Al
says he met with the same church official as Sally had -- Father
"He had a file on his table," Al remembers. "He's
flipping through pages in his file and telling me all these
incidents of Father Kern before I was even abused."
Al says he was stunned. He sued and settled quietly,
just like Sally – with a promise, he says, that Father Kern would
never be assigned to a parish with children again.
That was back in 1994. So, we wondered: what actually
happened to the two priests?
Turns out, in spite of those promises, both Father Kern
and Father Jeub were reassigned again - to other local parishes
They served until 2002, when the St. Paul Pioneer Press
revealed there had been allegations against them.
So why are past victims coming forward now?
Sally says she was watching the news recently when St.
Paul Police Chief Tom Smith publicly accused the church of not
cooperating with investigators. The name of one person Chief
Smith singled out hit her like a thunderbolt. Kevin McDonough.
The same church official who'd met years ago with both Sally and
"Kevin McDonough," Al asks now, "You knew Father Kern
was a sexual predator. Yet you said nothing, and did nothing,
when he was put back in a parish?"
Sally says the church played a shell game. "You just
switched the predators."
Both victims think what happened after they reported
abuse is even worse than the abuse itself.
"That's horrible and terrible in and of itself. But what
happened afterwards is the real shame of it all," says Al. "And
there's people sitting on that hill – the Cathedral on the hill –
that aren't being held accountable for this."