Diocese of St. Cloud


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


March 29, 2019


The Diocese of St. Cloud is among the defendants in a civil lawsuit accusing Father Joseph Backowski of sexual misconduct with an adult woman.

Father Backowski is pastor of St. Mary of the Presentation Church in Breckenridge and St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Kent. He has been on administrative leave since early January because of personal health concerns. At that time, Father Backowski voluntarily began participating in an evaluation and treatment program to address these issues. He will conclude his participation in this program in the next month.

Following the conclusion of the treatment program, Bishop Donald Kettler will consult the Diocesan Review Board and determine the suitability of Father Backowski’s return to ministry. The review board includes individuals with training and experience in law enforcement, education and social work and includes members of the clergy and a victim/survivor. The chair of the review board is a retired judge. Among its responsibilities, the review board makes recommendations to the bishop about the suitability of members of the clergy to serve in active ministry.

Bishop Kettler offers his support and prayers for everyone affected by this situation.