Buckley’s Alleged Sexual Abuse Occurred in Gf

By Scott Tedrick
Advocate Tribune
March 11, 2016

That information, however, was obtained with a follow-up inquiry to Chris Clancy of the New Ulm Diocese Office of Communications that was received after press time, at which point it was made known that Buckley's case of abuse had also occurred while the pastor was stationed at St. Andrew.

New information has come to light indicating that at least two additional cases of sexual abuses have been perpetrated in Granite Falls by pastors assigned to St. Andrew Catholic Church by the New Ulm Diocese, including one ‘credibly confirmed’ case involving Fr. Gordon Buckley. Furthermore, the information indicates the New Ulm Diocese was aware of three area cases of abuse prior to at least one of the pastor’s assignments at St. Andrew.

Last month Parishioners of St. Andrew Church received a pair of letters by New Ulm Diocese Bishop John Levoir, dated February 5 and February 11, informing them of two priests with a history of sexual abuse who were placed in the parish during back-to-back assignments in the 60s and 70.

In 2010, the first of the now three cases of reported sexual abuse, was brought to the surface following a CNN?Special Report on a report of sexual abuse of a local child perpetrated by Fr. Francis Markey during an approximately three month period in which he was assigned as interim pastor for the church in the spring of 1982.

Markey would die in jail in 2012 while awaiting charges of raping a 15-year old in Ireland over 40 years ago.

Buckley abuse is “credibly confirmed”

The letters received last month name Fr. Gordon Buckley, who served at the Church of St. Andrewsin Granite Falls and the Church of St. James in Dawson, from 1963-69, as well as Fr. Charles Stark who was at St. Andrew from 1969-1971.

In the New Ulm Diocese’s letter involving Stark, it said the case of sexual abuse was alleged to have been committed at St. John in Darwin, Minnesota––from 1965-69, or just prior to his assignment at Granite Falls––while the letter involving Buckley, which said the case is “credibly confirmed,” did not include a location of the incident.

That information, however, was obtained with a follow-up inquiry to Chris Clancy of the New Ulm Diocese Office of Communications that was received after press time, at which point it was made known that Buckley’s case of abuse had also occurred while the pastor was stationed at St. Andrew.

Asked if there was a reason that the location of the incident was omitted from the letter, the diocese responded, “no.”

And as to the specific nature of the Buckley incident, Clancy said that “Because litigation is imminent, we are not able to release any information at this time.”

In the immediate area, Buckley also served at the Church of St. Mary in Cottonwood, 1960-61; the Church of St. Isidore in Clarkfield, 1961-63; and the Church of St. Michael in Milroy, 1969-78. He retired from active ministry in 1978 and died in 1985.

Asked to comment on the matter, present St. Andrew pastor Paul Timmerman said that all questions should be directed to the Diocese.

Memo reveals that diocese knew prior to GF assignment, reveals third abuse

A memorandum dated December 4, 2002 “from Rev. Frank Garvey and to “The file of Rev. Francis Markey,” obtained by the Advocate Tribune, reveals personal testimony of Frank Garvey who, from 1969 to 1984, served on the Priest Personnel Board, which advised the bishop on where priests were placed within the diocese––at the same time he was operating the New Ulm Diocese Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Willmar State Hospital when Markey was accepted there in December of 1981.

As of 2006––the year he was given the Roman Catholic Church honor title of ‘Monsignor’––Garvey served as a pastor for 47 years in the church.

“To begin this report, I quote from Bishop John McRaith’s letter when he was Director of Priest Personnel to Rev. William Perri, s.P., director Jemez Springs, New Mexico, dated July 6, 1982. ‘In all honesty, I must say that Father Markey is the most difficult, manipulative, ungrateful and irresponsible priest that I have had to work within my years in the Diocese.’”

With that pretext, Garvey’s memo then details his working relationship with Markey.

“In November of 1981, the Servants of the Paraclete Religious Community in Jemez Springs, New Mexico contacted me, as they often did, to see if I would accept certain clients that they had in treatment into my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. They asked if I would consider taking Father Francis Markey, who was at our Lady of Victory treatment Center In Brownshill, England (servants of Paraclete), into my winter unit of CPE. The only information they gave me was that he was a recovering alcoholic who had been in treatment a number of times. He was a priest from the Diocese of Clougher, Ireland. They felt he had done well in their treatment program and that a CPE program would help Father Markey return to priestly work.”

The memo goes on to say that Markey arrived in Willmar in 1981 where he entered into the CPE?program established at the Willmar State Hospital Campus.

“Shortly after the program began, FR. Markey was asked to help say weekend Masses at Henderson, Minnesota. It was reported to us by the neighboring priest that Fr. Markey stayed overnight at a family in the parish who had three young boys, and he was more friendly with boys than would be normally acceptable. The parents were insightful and prevented any further contact with the boys that evening. Fr. Markey was confronted by Fr. McRaith and me. He did not deny this report.”

Yet the following line of the memo seems to contradict all the proceeding information, stating “Father Markey completed the unit of CPE?on March 11, 1982. He was sort of a model student.”

And then he was assigned to Granite Falls...

“Toward the end of the program, because the Dicoese needed a priest at St. Andrew Parish in Granite Falls, Fr. Markey was asked to serve on Ash Wednesday.”

But then, according to the next line in the memo, just five days after Markey completed the CPE?program Garvey said that he had agreed to allow Markey to use his office to perform a 5th step–which is a component of the 12-Step Recovery program wherein addicts voice to another individual the exact nature of their wrong doings.

“When I arrived at work at Willmar State Hospital on March 17, 1982, I was confronted immediately by Mr. Lester Johnson, Willmar State Hospital CEO, concerning Fr. Markey’s behavior during a 5th step. The client reported inappropriate touching.”

Garvey said he immediately approached Markey and, “He had little to say. I told him I could not help him in my CPE program and that I wanted him to pack and be removed from the CPE home today...

”I reported the incident to Fr. John McRaith because several weeks prior to this incident at Willmar State Hospital Father Markey was covering the weekend at St. Andrew’s in Granite Falls beginning on Ash Wednesday. During this time there were no reports of misconduct or inappropriate behavior. He went from Willmar to St. Andrew’s Parish in Granite Falls. He worked there full time. A third incident occurred while he was at Granite Falls [involving an alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult at an organization outside of the New Ulm Diocese but within the community where ministerial services are sought]. I don’t know the details of this incident.

“Shortly after this, I believe in late June or early July 1982, I got a call from a mother in Granite Falls telling me that Fr. Markey was arranging a trip to northern Minnesota with some boys from the parish and that she had concerns about this. I immediately called Fr. McRaith. He immediately contacted Fr. Markey and removed him from Granite Falls.”

The memo closes with Garvey stating his knowledge of Markey’s whereabouts after his departure.

“If I am reading his file correctly, he went from Granite Falls to the Paraclete Religious Community Treatment Center in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. He kept in contact with Bishop Lucker, and somehow convinced him to have the New Ulm Diocese sponsor and pay for his treatment. Fr. Markey did not return to the New Ulm Diocese.

“I am not sure what all happened. I know Fr. Markey ended up working at the Betty Ford Foundation in California because for a couple years he sent me a Christmas card telling me he was working there.

Apples to apples?

A March 27, 2014 MPR article “Rare legal twist pits one diocese against another”?details the New Ulm Diocese lawsuit against the Diocese of Clougher, Ireland and the Servants of the Paraclete religious order, accusing both of sending Fr. Markey to New Ulm in the early 1980s without telling the diocese that the priest had a long history of being accused of child sexual abuse.

“Markey became a priest in Ireland in 1952,” states the article. “Documents filed in several court cases show that he was accused of sexually abusing young boys as far back as the 1960s, and received treatment several times in Ireland and England before coming to the United States,”

Interestingly, the article states that the New Ulm Diocese lawsuit stems from the lawsuit filed in 2013 by one of three boys who Garvey was informed were abused by Markey while stationed at rural churches in Henderson and Jessenland prior to his assignment at St. Andrew.

“‘He was at our parish for, like, seven to ten days and he was in our house for two hours and he abused three people,’ the man said,” according to MPR.

In the complaint against the Diocese of Clougher and the Servants of the Paraclete, the New Ulm Diocese argues it never would have accepted Markey for assignment within the diocese if it knew about his history.

And, yet, it begs the question, if the New Ulm Diocese alleges that it should have been informed of the abuse, then why not the community of St. Andrew Parish and the community of Granite Falls when both Fr. Garvey and Fr. McRaith were aware of three cases of abuse by Markey and still assigned him to the Granite Falls parish.








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