Following the release of the names of 16 credibly accused New Ulm Diocese priests of sexual abuse on March 29, a joint press release dated April 15 from the New Ulm Diocese and law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates names an additional three priests credibly accused of sexual abuse––and yet another, Fr. Bernard Steiner, served amidst local parishes.

Following the release of the names of 16 credibly accused New Ulm Diocese priests of sexual abuse on March 29, a joint press release dated April 15 from the New Ulm Diocese and law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates names an additional three priests credibly accused of sexual abuse––and yet another, Fr. Bernard Steiner, served amidst local parishes.

According to the release, Fr. Steiner was ordained in February 1961, for the Diocese of New Ulm. He served as pastor of St. James, Dawson and the mission of St. Isidore, Clarkfield from 1965-1969 and from 1981 - 1982 as an  Administrator St. Andrews in Granite Falls. Additionally, he was pastor of St. James and Dawson from 1978-1981; St. Clara, Clara City from 1982-1987; and was Administrator at the Sacred Heart and Raymond parishes from 1982 to 1987,

According to the release, the credible case of abuse occurred at the  Church of St. Paul in Comfrey, Minnesota in the 1970s. Steiner retired from assigned ministry in 2005.

With the Steiner revelation, a total of four of the 19 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse served in either pastoral or administrative capacities at area churches, including all four at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Granite Falls.

Sought for comment, St. Andrew Catholic Church Pastor Paul Timmerman directed questions to the New Ulm Diocese communications office which responded with this statement:

“We are still learning about the nature of claims from victims and survivors being made under the Minnesota Child Victims Act. At this time, our primary focus is on fairly resolving these claims and seeking healing for the victims and survivors."

"The Minnesota Child Victims Act established a May 25, 2016 deadline to file a civil claim for historical cases of child sexual abuse."

"We encourage any victims or survivors of abuse who have not yet come forward to contact law enforcement immediately, and seek counsel from an attorney if they wish to file a civil claim."

"Victims and survivors of abuse in Church ministry are also encouraged to contact the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 1421 6th Street North, New Ulm, MN 56073 or 507-233-5313 for counseling or other assistance in healing."

"Parishioners and Catholic school families are being informed of the lawsuits. It is not expected that the lawsuits will affect the normal operations of parishes or Catholic schools in the diocese."

"Bishop LeVoir apologizes on behalf of the Church to victims and survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The bishop, diocesan staff, and parish leaders are seeking a fair resolution to claims while allowing for the continuation of the work of the Church in our communities."

"More information is available at http://protectandheal-dnu.org/.”

The following is a list of the three newest priests credibly accused of sexual abuse.
Fr. Bernard Steiner: Steiner was ordained in 1964 in the Diocese of New Ulm and worked in several parishes throughout Southern and West-Central Minnesota during his clerical career, including parishes and schools in Springfield, Sanborn, Dawson, Clarkfield, Lafayette, Winthrop, Appleton, Holloway, Comfrey, Madison, Granite Falls, Clara City, Raymond, Benson, Clontarf, Danvers, DeGraff, Lamberton, Green Isle, Faxon Township, Jessenland and Henderson. Steiner retired from active ministry in 2005. Doe 172 was abused at the Church of St. Paul in Comfrey, Minnesota in the 1970s.
 
Fr. Richard Gross: Gross was ordained in 1962 in the Diocese of New Ulm and worked in parishes in New Ulm, Taunton, Rosen, Hutchinson and Watkins. Gross retired from ministry in 2003. Doe 62 was sexually abused by Gross in the mid-1960s at St. Mary’s parish in New Ulm.
 
Fr. Edward Ardolf: Ardolf was ordained in 1964 in the Diocese of New Ulm and retired from active ministry in 2012. During his clerical career, Ardolf worked in several parishes and schools in the following locations: Winsted; New Ulm (including Cathedral High School); North Mankato (including Loyola High School); Springfield, Canby, St. Leo, Sleepy Eye, and Nicollet. Doe 294 was sexually abused by Gross at St. Raphael’s in Springfield.

The following is a list of the four priests serving in local parishes.

Fr. Gordon Buckley
Fr. Gordon Buckley has a credibly confirmed case of sexual abuse, with imminent litigation, that occurred in Granite Falls while he was assigned to St. Andrew and St. James in Dawson. He also served St. Mary in Cottonwood, 1960-61; the Church of St. Isidore in Clarkfield, 1961-63; and the Church of St. Michael in Milroy, 1969-78. Buckley retired from active ministry in 1978 and died in 1985.

Fr. Charles Stark
Stark is alleged to have committed abuse while assigned at St. John in Darwin where he was located from 1965-69. His following assignment was at St. Andrews from 1969-1971.

There are no reported abuses perpetrated by Stark during his time in Granite Falls. He is retired from active ministry.

Fr. Steiner (see above)

Fr. Francis Markey
Has a long history of sex abuse dating back to the 1960s. He underwent treatment multiple times in Ireland and England before essentially being kicked out of both countries.

While assigned at St. Andrews Parish for three months in 1982 he would abuse at least one child from the parish and one vulnerable adult at another institution within the community.

Markey died in jail in 2012 while awaiting charges of raping a 15-year old in Ireland over 40 years ago.