With reporting from James Warden
Three former Richfield clergymen are on a list of priests “credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors," according to an article in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' newspaper, The Catholic Spirit.
Gilbert DeSutter, Louis Heitzer and Alfred Longley all served as priests or pastors in Richfield during the 1950s and 1960s:
- DeSutter, 85, served as an associate priest at St. Peter's Catholic Church from 1964-68. He was permanently removed from ministry in 2003. He is believed to be currently residing in Mesa, AZ.
- Heitzer, deceased, served as an associate priest at St. Richard's Catholic Church from 1967-68. He was permanently removed from ministry in 1969, and also died that year.
- Longley, deceased, served as a pastor at St. Richard's from 1952-61. He was permanently removed from ministry in 1968, and he died in 1974.
The archdiocese published the list of 34 priests Thursday in the online edition of The Catholic Spirit. About half of the parishes in the archdiocese—92 out of 188 parishes—had one of the priests on the list there at some point, according to the archdiocese.
The publication was made in response to ongoing lawsuits against priests and the church arising from childhood sexual abuse cases. The archdiocese and Diocese of Winona originally sought to seal the list—which was created in 2004 and included 33 of the 34 priests named today, according to the Star Tribune.
The courts agreed to seal the list in 2009. But Archbishop John Nienstedt reversed course after the church was accused of shielding priests—allegations that gained extra fuel in recent months from a Minnesota Public Radio exposé.
The information being released comes mostly from reported incidents that occurred between the mid-1950s and 1980s, according to The Catholic Spirit
“All have been permanently removed from ministry or are deceased,” the article said.
The church says it is engaged in a comprehensive review of clergy files and will update the list as it makes additional announcements.
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