Diocese of Lincoln priests against whom substantiated allegations of childhood sexual abuse have been reported

The Diocese of Lincoln developed this list with the assistance of Bishop Conley’s Task Force on Child Sexual Abuse, which reviewed the diocese’s records related to allegations of sexual misconduct. The Task Force specifically recommended that the diocese publish the names of any diocesan clergy with substantiated allegations.

A “substantiated allegation” is an allegation that, after review of available information, appeared more likely true than not in the judgment of the independent Task Force.

There are no time limitations on this list and it will be treated by the diocese as a living document that will be updated and supplemented from time to time. The information available to the Task Force and the diocese with respect to historic allegations of abuse is largely limited to what exists in the diocesan records. However, if the diocese receives new allegations or new information about existing allegations, it will revisit adding names to this list. The diocese continues to cooperate with the Attorney General’s statewide investigation of clergy sexual abuse and, if that investigation yields more allegations or information about existing allegations, the diocese will add names to the list if warranted.

As part of that cooperation, and where possible, the diocese has also requested that the Attorney General’s office provide the diocese with any new information or allegations it learns about. In those cases where no criminal charges are filed due to the high burden of proof in a criminal case or the expiration of the statute of limitations, the diocese can still act. That additional information will be considered by the diocese in determining whether publication of an additional name on this list is appropriate.

This list of priests with substantiated allegations is broken into two categories: deceased diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of abuse of minors and priests with substantiated allegations of abuse who are still living or their status is unknown.

In addition to the list of priests with substantiated allegations, the diocese has included a third grouping of priests who are currently on administrative leave or under investigation by the diocese for allegations of sexual misconduct or alleged grooming conduct that may involve minors or young adults. Their names will remain on this list pending final disposition of those allegations.

Last updated April 2, 2019

 

A.) Deceased priests against whom substantiated allegations of childhood sexual abuse have been reported.

Clarence Crowley

Ordination Date:         1937

Assignments:

St. Joseph (Beatrice); St. Cecilia (Hastings); Sacred Heart (Hebron); Holy Family (Lincoln); Cathedral of the Risen Christ (Lincoln); St. Michael (Cheney)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Died in 1986

 

Jerome Murray

Ordination Date:         1949

Assignments:

St. Joseph (Beatrice); St. Elizabeth’s Hospital; St. Michael (Fairbury); St. Joseph (Paul);Veterans Hospital; Pius X High School (Lincoln); St. Mary (Davey); St. John (Cambridge); St. Joseph (York); St. Joseph (Paul); St. Clara (Peru); St. Bernard (Julian); Lourdes High School (Nebraska City); St. Patrick (Imperial); St. John (Wauneta); St. James (Curtis); St. Joseph (Farnam)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Retired in 1999; faculties revoked and public ministry restricted in 2002-2005; died in 2016

 

Aloysius Piorkowski (not incardinated in Lincoln)

Ordination Date:         1935

Assignments:

St. Mary (Gdynia, Poland); Military Batory Vessel of the Gdynia - America Lines; Hospital (Park Ridge, Illinois); St. Pancratius (Chicago, Illinois); St. Wenceslaus (Wilber); St. James (Cortland); Lincoln Air Force Base; Boys Town (Omaha); Diocese of Rockford

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Left the Diocese of Lincoln in 1959; died in 1978

 

B.) Living priests (or status unknown) against whom substantiated allegations of childhood sexual abuse have been reported.

James Benton

Ordination Date:         1973

Assignments:

Sacred Heart (Lincoln); St. Michael (Hastings); St. Mary (Dawson); St. Ann (Shubert); Sacred Heart High School (Falls City); St. Joseph (Paul); St. Clara (Peru); Lourdes High School (Nebraska City); Diocesan Director of Scouting; Immaculate Conception (Rulo); St. Mary (Arago); Sacred Heart High School (Falls City); Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary School (Falls City); Diocesan Mission (Barquisimeto, Venezuela); St. Vincent de Paul (Seward); St. Gregory the Great Seminary (Seward); St. John the Apostle (Lincoln); Our Lady of Good Counsel Retreat House; St. Mary (Wallace); Resurrection (Elsie); St. Joseph (Harvard); St. John the Baptist (Minden); Holy Family (Heartwell)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Placed on leave and subsequently retired in 2017; faculties revoked and public ministry restricted as of 2018

 

John Copenhaver

Ordination Date:         1988

Assignments:

St. John (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); St. Michael (Fairbury); St. Mary (Alexandria); Sacred Heart (Shelby); Aquinas High School (David City); Saint Joseph (Superior); Sacred Heart (Nelson); St. Wenceslaus (Wahoo); St. Cecilia (Hastings); St. Patrick (McCook), Sacred Heart (McCook); St. Ann (Hayes Center); St. Catherine (Indianola); Nursing Homes & Prison Ministry (Lincoln)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Retired in 2012; faculties revoked and public ministry restricted as of 2012

 

Richard Deonise

Ordination Date:         1983

Assignments:

St. Wenceslaus (Wahoo); Blessed Sacrament (Lincoln); St. Patrick (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); St. Michael (Hastings); St. Joseph (Benkelman); St. Joseph (Stratton); St. John (Prague); Saints Cyril & Methodius (Plasi); Neumann High School (Wahoo); St. Wenceslaus (Wilber); St. Joseph (Tobias)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Excommunicated in 1994

 

Robert Hrdlicka

Ordination Date:         1977

Assignments:

Cathedral of the Risen Christ (Lincoln), St. Mary (David City); St. Anthony (Steinauer); Sacred Heart (Burchard); St. Andrew’s School (Tecumseh); Chaplain in the U.S. Navy

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Removed from public ministry and criminally charged in 1993; laicized in 2005; current status unknown

 

Paul Margand

Ordination Date:         1985

Assignments:

St. Teresa (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); Holy Spirit (Plattsmouth)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Removed from public ministry and criminally charged in 1987; laicized in 2004; current status unknown

 

Sean Redmond

Ordination Date:         1990

Assignments:

St. Mary (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); Cathedral of the Risen Christ (Lincoln); St. Wenceslaus (Wahoo); Bishop Neumann High School (Wahoo); St. Joseph (Nebraska City, Paul); St. Bernard (Julian); Lourdes Catholic Schools (Nebraska City); St. Joseph (Benkelman); St. Joseph (Stratton)

Conduct:          Sexual abuse of minor(s).

Status:             Removed from public ministry in 2009; laicized in 2010; current status unknown

 

C.) Investigations - Priests on administrative leave pending disposition or under investigation for misconduct involving minors or young adults.*

Thomas Dunavan

Ordination Date:         1998

Assignments:

St. Mary (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); St. Thomas Aquinas (Lincoln);

St. Wenceslaus (Wahoo); Bishop Neumann Jr./Sr. High School; Immaculate Conception (Rulo); St. Mary (Arago); Sacred Heart School (Falls City); St. Andrew (Tecumseh); St. Mary (St. Mary); Saints Peter and Paul (Falls City); Sacred Heart School (Falls City)

Conduct:          Alleged sexual misconduct/grooming

Status:             Placed on administrative leave in 2019; disposition pending

 

Leonard Kalin

Ordination Date:         1956

Assignments:

St. Cecilia (Hastings); Blessed Sacrament (Lincoln); St. Mary (Davey); Neumann High School (Wahoo); Chaplain of the Lincoln Job Corps Center; Diocesan Director of Vocations; Student Parish of St. Thomas Aquinas (Lincoln); Newman Center (Lincoln)

Conduct:          Alleged sexual misconduct/grooming

Status:             Died in 2008; outside investigation into misconduct initiated March 2019

 

Charles Townsend

Ordination Date:         1991

Assignments:

St. Cecilia (Hastings); St. Joseph (Lincoln); Saints Peter and Paul (Falls City); St. Michael (Hastings); St. Cecilia Middle/High School (Hastings); St. Joseph (Lincoln); Pius X High School (Lincoln); St. James (Mead); Bishop Neumann Jr./Sr. High School (Wahoo); St. Wenceslaus School (Wahoo); St. Peter (Lincoln)

Conduct:          Alleged misconduct/grooming, including procuring alcohol for a person under 21 years old

Status:             Placed on administrative leave in 2018; pleaded no contest to criminal charges in March 2019; disposition pending

* This does not include other priests of the diocese on administrative leave.  Each will remain on administrative leave until it is determined that they are suitable to return to ministry.

 

Definitions

Laicized: This means to be permanently removed from the clerical state by the authority of the Holy See. A priest can voluntarily petition for laicization or a bishop can petition to the Holy See against the will of the priest. A laicized priest does not retain any affiliation with the diocese.

Faculties revoked and public ministry restricted: A diocesan priest is typically granted many faculties, including administration of the Eucharist and Penance. While not removed from the clerical state - which can only be done with authority from the Holy See - the bishop may revoke a priests's faculties and preclude him from engaging in any ministry to the public. A priest who has had his faculties revoked and public ministry restricted may only celebrate Mass in private, and may not publicly represent himself as a priest.

Excommunicated: Is a formal act of censure under Canon law that a bishop may impose for grave delicts. Excommunication forbids a person from celebrating the sacraments (or from receiving the sacraments), and from exercising any ministry whatsoever. With respect to a priest, it formally suspends his right to serve as a pastor.

Reporting Hotlines

Reporting Child Abuse or Neglect
Nebraska law requires all suspicions of child abuse or neglect to be reported to law enforcement or DHHS (Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-652-1999).

Reporting Misconduct
Notify the Diocese of Lincoln of any misconduct involving diocesan personnel via the misconduct hotline: 1-844-527-0596 (English and Spanish) or reporting website: lincolndiocese.ethicspoint.com.

Denuncia de abuso o negligencia infantil
La ley de Nebraska requiere que todas las sospechas de abuso o negligencia infantil se informen a las autoridades policiales o al DHHS (Línea directa de abuso infantil: 1-800-652-1999 - indica español).

Reportar Conducta Indebida
Notifique a la Diócesis de Lincoln sobre cualquier conducta indebida relacionada con el personal de la diócesis llamando a la línea directa de conducta indebida: 1-844-527-0596 (inglés y español).

Báo cáo Lạm dụng hoặc Bỏ bê Trẻ em
Luật Nebraska yêu cầu tất cả các nghi ngờ về hành vi ngược đãi hoặc bỏ bê trẻ em được báo cáo cho cơ quan thực thi pháp luật hoặc DHHS (Đường dây nóng lạm dụng trẻ em: 1-800-652-1999).

Báo cáo hành vi sai trái
Thông báo cho Giáo phận Lincoln về bất kỳ hành vi sai trái nào liên quan đến nhân viên giáo phận bằng cách gọi đường dây nóng về hành vi sai trái: 1-844-527-0596.

 
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