Superior Diocese releases abusive clergy list
The Catholic Diocese of Superior has released its list of abusive clergy.
SUPERIOR — A complete list of abusive clergy who have substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them has been released by the Catholic Diocese of Superior, according to a news release Tuesday evening.
Bishop James P. Powers said in a release the list of names is the result of "three separate clergy file reviews, including one by a private independent security consulting firm; over a year of meetings, multiple sessions with the Diocesan Review Board (lay people with various life experiences) and much prayer and discernment."
The list includes four priests with credible accusations based in the Superior area, and a fifth priest who had served within the Superior diocese but was credibly accused within other dioceses, including the Diocese of Duluth.
Abuse allegations were recorded in the Superior area as far back as 1943 and as recently as 1991.
An accusation against James Bartelme was reported from 1990-91 in Superior. He was removed from ministry in September and is currently listed as being on administrative leave.
Edward Beutner was accused of abuse in Superior from periods ranging from 1965-70 and 1974-95. He exited the ministry in 2002, was laicized (stripped of clergy status) in 2006 and died in 2008.
Michael Charland is on the Superior list regarding incidents in the 1970s and 80s but was not a priest of the diocese. However, he is listed as credibly accused by the Diocese of Duluth. He left ministry in 1984 and was laicized in 1989.
Gerald Mahon is accused of abuse over a period from 1943-46 in Superior. He left ministry in 1971 and died in 1977.
John Stremski is accused of abuse in Superior in the early 1970s. He left ministry in 1999 and died in 2004.
The complete list can be found on the Diocesan website at catholicdos.org/abusive-clergy-list.
" As this list is made public, I want to express my deepest apology and sympathy to all victims, survivors, and the family members who suffered with them," wrote Powers in a statement on the website with the list. "While most of the allegations in the list are more than 30 years old, I know that the wounds caused by abuse are as fresh as if the abuse happened yesterday. I understand that the publication of this list may reopen those wounds and I sincerely apologize. It is my hope and prayer that making this list public will bring healing."
Since the Diocese of Superior was established in 1905, hundreds of priests have served the 103 parishes and 14 Catholic schools. Of this number, 23 priests have had a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor made against them. Twenty of those priests are dead and no priest on the list is stated to be currently active in ministry.
"I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot," said Powers. "What we can do is learn from the past and do everything in our power to never repeat the abuse. I firmly believe that the Diocese of Superior is clearly on the right path in protecting our children."
The Diocese has policies which include immediately reporting an abuse allegation to local law enforcement and placing the clergy on administrative leave pending an investigation. The Diocese would also pursue removal of any clergy with a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor. All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to complete mandatory background checks and training on keeping children safe, according to the news release.
Victims of clergy abuse can report their abuse to local law enforcement and Kathy Drinkwine, Diocesan coordinator of assistance, at (cell) 715-718-1110, (office) 715-394-0216, and email email@example.com .