7 Catholic Priests Deemed "Credibly Accused" of Child Sex-abuse

By Eden Checkol
Northlands News Center
July 9, 2015

[with video]

Seven priests have been "credibly accused" of sexually abusing children, and five of those priests served in Duluth for a portion of their priesthood.

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents sex-abuse survivors, released the names of the seven priests Tuesday, after a settlement was reached between a man identified as Doe 30 and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Catholic order of priests and brothers.

The names of the priests are: Orville Lawrence Munie, Michael Charland, James Vincent Fitzgerald, Robert Reitmeier, Emil Twardochleb, Paul Kabat and Thomas Meyer.

A lawsuit Doe 30 filed against Fitzgerald led to the release of the six other names.

"In that settlement there was a requirement that they come clean with the names of those offenders who are credibly abused," said Anderson.

The civil suit was also filed against the Dioceses of Duluth and New Ulm, but those cases are still pending.

Anderson said both dioceses won't release names of priests who allegedly sexually abused minors.

"Both refuse to step up and make disclosures and be transparent and release the same information," said Anderson.

In a statement, the Diocese of Duluth acknowledged the five priests did serve in Duluth but said "the diocese only knew of such accusations against one of them, so only that one was included in the list the diocese released in December 2013."

Verne Wagner from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is calling on former Catholic employees to share any information they may have.

"We beg former Catholic employees in Duluth and Minnesota to come clean with any information and suspicions about these priests," said Wagner. "We beg these ex–employees to call police and prosecutors."

Jeff Anderson and Associates are also urging any Minnesota survivors who were sexually abused by Catholic priests to come forward immediately.

"They can get help and they can do that confidentially, they can remain anonymous like Doe 30 did," said Attorney Mike Finnegan.

The deadline for sex–abuse survivors to step forward and take part in legal action is August 3.








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