May 29, 2016 – Claims received by Diocese of St. Cloud under Minnesota Child Victims Act

Categories: News / Statements


Diocese of St. Cloud  


Joe Towalski
Director of Communications
(O) 320-258-7624

May 29, 2016


Bishop Donald Kettler asks Catholics in the Diocese of Saint Cloud to join him in praying for healing for all victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and for a just resolution to the civil claims made under the Minnesota Child Victims Act.

“I apologize again on behalf of the Church to all victims and survivors of abuse,” Bishop Kettler said. “I am thankful they have come forward. I, along with the faithful of the Diocese of Saint Cloud, remain committed to assist in the healing of all those who have been hurt. And we promise to continue to work diligently to prevent abuse and keep all children in our parishes and schools safe.”

The Minnesota Child Victims Act, which lifted for three years the civil statute of limitations for allegations of past sexual abuse of minors, ended May 25. A total of 74 claims were made against the diocese. The claims name 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese (see below). Thirty parishes are named in the claims; the diocese has 131 parishes.

The claims are related to abuse alleged to have happened many years ago — several decades ago in most cases. The claims do not involve anyone who is currently in parish ministry. Listening sessions will be scheduled in the future.

Pastors and parishioners are being informed about the claims. It is not expected that the claims will affect the normal operations of parishes or Catholic schools in the diocese. Diocesan and parish staff are working with attorneys to identify insurance coverage that could go toward resolution of these lawsuits. The diocese is considering all options for fairly resolving the claims made against it.

Bishop Kettler continues to encourage anyone who has suffered sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to come forward regardless of when the misconduct occurred. Victims and survivors are urged to contact the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at (320) 248-1563. Contact information for victim advocates and county officials to whom abuse can also be reported is available online at:

More information and future updates regarding the diocese’s response to claims can be found at:

Allegations of abuse were made against the following clergy members in the lawsuits against the Diocese of St. Cloud during the three-year window of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which expired May 25, 2016.

Cosmas Dahlheimer, OSB
Hubert Dahlheimer, OSB
John Eccleston
Richard Eckroth, OSB
Sylvester Gall
Raoul Gauthier
Thomas Gillespie, OSB
Philibert Harrer, OSB
Othmar Hohmann, OSB
Matthew Kiess, OSB
Val Klimek
Joseph Kremer
Henry Lutgen
Brennan Maiers, OSB
Antonio Marfori
James Mohm
Jerome Reisinger
David Rieder
Donald Rieder
David Sheldon
Paul Shurek
Robert Smith
Peter Snyers
Allan Speiser
James Thoennes
Thomas Thole, OSB
Roger Vaughn, OSC
William Wey
Joseph Wiersgalla
Mark Willenbring
Vincent Yzermans