The Diocese of La Crosse released the names Saturday of more than two dozen clergy who have faced a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse.
The diocese said none of the accused are now in public ministry. Many are listed as deceased. The list comes from an independent review of clergy files dating to 1868 by the audit firm Defenbaugh & Associates Inc.
Established in 1868, the Diocese of La Crosse serves nearly 200,000 Catholics in 19 counties: Adams, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Dunn, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Richland, Trempealeau, Vernon and Wood.
Two were identified as being from another order or diocese, but whose allegation occurred while service the Diocese of La Crosse:
Five more were identified as non-diocesan clergy whose whose names appear on a list in another diocese or religious order. The Diocese of La Crosse has no specific information relating to the allegations.
Those clergy are:
“The statistics for the Diocese of La Crosse reveal that, out of 705 clergy who have served in the diocese between 1950 and 2002, there have been 10 individuals (including one who was not a priest of the diocese) with substantiated allegations against them. The result is that only 1.4 percent of the total clergy population in that time period had substantiated allegations.
Accused Clerics: 28 (of which allegations were substantiated against 10; of that 10, one was not a priest of the diocese)
Total Priests: 705 (of which 478 diocesan priests, 187 religious order priests, and 40 deacons)
Allegations: 58 (of which allegations against 3 were “withdrawn” or the priest was “exonerated”; 24 were unsubstantiated)
On January 6, 2004, the Diocese of La Crosse released its statistics regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergy.”
“The Diocese of La Crosse has released the names of seven more priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
These additions, made Wednesday, include two priests who held assignments in La Crosse and four who worked at a now defunct Jesuit boarding school in Prairie du Chien.
- Benedict Adams (St. Anthony Retreat Center, Marathon)
- J. Michael Cannon (Campion High School, Prairie du Chien)
- Thomas R. Haller (Campion High School)
- J. Roger Lucey (Campion High School)
- Charles Meyer (St. Rose Convent, La Crosse)
- James V. O’Connor (Campion High School)
- Michael A. Spegele (St. Francis Hospital, La Crosse)
At least five of the priests have died, and the other two were long ago dismissed by the Society of Jesus. It is unclear whether Cannon (dismissed in 1997) and Haller (dismissed in 1982) are still alive, still working with children or still serving in religious roles.
Though they served within the boundaries of the La Crosse diocese, none of the seven priests were official diocesan clergy or directly overseen by the bishop.
Wednesday’s disclosure came less than three weeks after the diocese released the names of 20 priests who were credibly accused of child abuse while serving in the diocese.
The list included J. Thomas Finucan, who was president of Viterbo University in La Crosse from 1970 to 1980.”
God is merciful. God is just.