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Forum News Service, Published December 16 2013

Winona diocese releases list of priests accused of sex abuse

WINONA, Minn. - The Winona Catholic diocese Monday released names of 14 priests, all but four of whom are dead, who may have been guilty of sex abuse.

Bishop John M. Quinn apologized for the alleged abuse.

"Over the past few decades, a number of clergy members in the Diocese of Winona sadly have been accused of violating the sacred trust placed in them by children, youth and their families and were accused of detestable crimes of sexual abuse," Quinn said in a statement. "This has caused insufferable harm to victims, their families, parishioners and the church. For this I am truly sorry."

Quinn released the names, who served in Winona and elsewhere in southeastern Minnesota, after a Ramsey County court ordered it.

The bishop said that nearly 5,000 priests, deacons, lay employees, volunteers and seminarians annually complete a course designed to prevent such abuses.

"Today, our parishes are vibrant and safer than ever before," Quinn said.

Thirteen of the priests on the list came after Catholic officials ordered a review of child sexual abuse in 2002. Another priest came under suspicion later.

Of surviving priests found in the 2002 study, all have been permanently removed from the ministry. The one discovered in 2004 is on leave pending a criminal case against him.

Monday's release was the third one in the past few days. The St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese released a similar list, as did St. John's Abbey of Collegeville.