Deceased bishop accused of abuse while a priest in St. Cloud Diocese

The Catholic Spirit
November 19, 2018

Bishop Donald Kettler has added the name of Bishop Harold Dimmerling to the list of clergy likely to have abused minors, according to a Nov. 12 statement from the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Dimmerling was a priest of the Saint Cloud Diocese who later served as bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, from 1969 until his death in 1987.

Bishop Kettler recently received an allegation that Dimmerling sexually abused a minor while serving as a priest in the Diocese of Saint Cloud, the statement said.

Bishop Kettler has spoken with the victim/survivor and, after prayer and consultation, deemed the allegation credible. The allegation has been reported to law enforcement. There has been no other report of sexual misconduct involving Dimmerling in the Diocese of Saint Cloud prior to receiving the present allegation, the statement said.

In line with past practice, Bishop Kettler will hold listening sessions in the near future in areas of the diocese where Dimmerling served. The sessions have three primary goals: to assure parishioners of the bishop’s support and assistance; to offer a process whereby sexual misconduct issues/concerns can be voiced and discussed; and to allow other potential victims the opportunity to come forward and receive assistance and healing.

Dimmerling was ordained on May 2, 1940, in the Diocese of Altoona, Pennsylvania, and was incardinated upon ordination into the Diocese of Saint Cloud. His assignments in the diocese included: assistant, Cathedral of St. Mary, St. Cloud (1940-1943); chaplain, St. Francis Hospital, Breckenridge, while also serving at St. Joseph, Brushvale (1943-1949); pastor, Sacred Heart in Glenwood and St. Bartholomew in Villard (1949-1957); pastor, St. Mary of the Presentation, Breckenridge (1957-1961); spiritual director, diocesan seminary, Collegeville (1961-1963); rector, diocesan seminary, Collegeville (1963-1969); pastor, St. Mary, Little Falls (1969).

The full list of clergy names can be viewed online.

Bishop Kettler said he encourages all victims of abuse to come forward. Contact information for victim advocates and county officials to whom abuse can be reported is available online.

The bishop asked all Catholics in the diocese to pray for healing for all victims and survivors of sexual abuse.


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