Publicly Accused Ft. Wayne/South Bend Predator Priests Who Have Been Left Off The Official Diocesan ‘Accused’ List
1--Fr. Gregory H. Poser was ordained for the Crosiers, a religious order, in 1975. He spent time in the archdioceses of St. Paul-Minneapolis MN and Chicago IL and the dioceses of Kalamazoo MI and St. Cloud MN. In 1991 he was transferred to Indonesia, where he lived and worked as a missionary for many years. In 2003 he returned to MN, where he worked at three parishes and a mission church. Fr. Poser was suspended from those assignments in May 2016, when the diocese received a report that he had sexually abused a minor when he was working at a Shoreview MN parish in the 1970s.
From 1979-82, he was at the Crosier House of Studies and from 1982-83 he was at the Crosier Retreat Center, both in Ft. Wayne. From 1983-84, he was at the Crosier Fathers & Brothers in Garrett Indiana.
2--Fr. Vincent Arthur "Fr. Art" Yzermans was a St. Cloud MN diocesan priest, ordained in 1951. In addition to working in parishes throughout the diocese, he was also a writer, editor and a communications consultant during three sessions of Vatican II in Rome. In the mid-1960s, he was a press advisor to the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops in Washington DC and the editor of a national Catholic paper, Our Sunday Visitor.
Fr. Yzermans struggled with alcoholism for which he was in and out of treatment more than a dozen times. In the mid 1970s, he spent a year in Santa Rosa CA, a year at St. Thomas College in Minneapolis, and later at a parish in Anchorage AK. He was on medical leave 1979-1984 before returning to St. Cloud. His name was among 33 released by the St. Cloud diocese in 2014 of clergy involved in incidents of likely claims of sexual abuse of minors. From 1967-69, he was at the Victory-Noll Motherhouse Novitiate Juniorate and College in Huntington Indiana.
3--Fr. Harvey Lamothe was accused of sexually abusing at least one boy in the Manchester NH diocese between 1979-1985. He was named as an abuser in a 2002 civil settlement with several victims. From 1950-1951, he was at the Divine Heart Seminary in Donaldson Indiana.
4--Fr. Joseph F. Mika (aka Rev. Salvatore Mika) was accused in 2004 of having sexually abused a female student when he worked in Pulaski, WI in the 1950s. Mika "expressed sorrow" about the abuse, and his supervisers said he was under "appropriate restrictions." From 1951-52, he was at Immaculate Conception of Lourdes Monastery in Cedar Lake IN.
5--Fr. John J. Gallen, who in 2018 was included on a list of credibly accused abusers by his Jesuit supervisors. He became an internationally known scholar and author who led seminars around the world on Catholic liturgy and worship.
In 1993, a man reported to his then-home diocese of Milwaukee that, when he was a 16-year-old altar boy in 1980 at a Toledo OH parish, Gallen sexually abused him. Gallen was at the parish in March 1980 to lead a week-long retreat. His accuser said Gallen touched him inappropriately and kissed him. The man said that Gallen later got his parents to allow him to help the priest with a move from Phoenix to Sacramento and that, during the trip, Gallen forced him into oral sex. Fr. Gallen's accuser said he reported the abuse to two of his parish priests shortly thereafter, but that the priests did not believe him.
Fr. Gallen sent his accuser letters of apology for his behavior in 1993 and 1994. Gallen could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.
From 1977-1979, he was the Director of Center for Pastoral Liturgy at Notre Dame.
6--Fr. Bernard "Barney" McMeel was ordained a priest of the Jesuits' Oregon Province in 1954. For more than two decades he ministered in the Fairbanks, Alaska diocese with a short stint later on in the diocese of Juneau. From 1979 until his death in 1994, Fr. McMeel worked at St. Paul Indian Mission on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in the diocese of Great Falls, Montana. McMeel was accused in a 2006 lawsuit, along with another Jesuit, Fr. Andrew Eordogh, of having sexually abused a boy in Holy Cross, Alaska, beginning when the boy was four years- ld in 1967. Hs accuser said Fr. McMeel "handed him off" to Fr. Eordogh when Fr. McMeel left in 1968 to become Superior Regular of Jesuits in Alaska. In 1979, he was at Notre Dame.
7--Father Angelo Zankl, was born as Gerard Zankl in Wisconsin. He was in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, and eight Minnesota communities (Crosby, Collegeville, Detroit Lakes, St. Joseph, Duluth, Crookston, Cold Spring and Mahnomen County). Fr. Zahkl was also at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.
He is included on an official list of the Diocese of Duluth of clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. The Diocese of Duluth list (released 12/31/2013)
Fr. Zankl left the Duluth diocese in 1987, went to St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota in1987 where he lived until he died at the age of 106 in 2007.
8--Fr. Thomas M. Gannon who worked in Wilmette IL, Cleveland OH, Chicago, IL, Washington DC and Cambridge England. From 1990-2008, he was at the Heartland Center in East Chicago, Indiana.
In 2018, he was listed as credibly accused of abuse by his Jesuit supervisors.
9--Fr. Michael Stephen Baker is estimated to have sexually abused at least 23 children. In approximately 1986, he admitted to Cardinal Roger Mahony that he had sexually abused children. In response, Cardinal Mahony sent Fr. Baker to treatment and returned him to ministry shortly thereafter. Criminal charges against Fr. Baker in connection with the abuse were dropped after the U.S. Supreme Court barred the revival of decades-old prosecutions of child sexual abuse. Fr. Baker was defrocked in 2000, arrested in 2006, pled guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing two boys and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was paroled in 2011 and arrested a year later for violating his parole.
In 1986, he was at Notre Dame University.
10--Fr. Michael Paquet was ordained a Crosier priest in 1978. He worked in parishes in Minnesota and Indiana before he was removed from ministry on November 18, 2002. His name was released by the Crosiers in 2014, as one “who has one or more credible claims of sexual abuse of a minor against him.
From 1979-1985 he was a Ministry Center Retreat Director in Ft. Wayne and from 1983-1985 he was the Spirit Alive TEC Youth Minister of the Ft. Wayne diocese.Fr. Paquet reportedly lives in Canada.
11--Fr. Francis Emil Dilla, a Chicago priest who was accused of abuse there in 1964 – 1965. He was first identified as abuser in a Chicago archdiocese report in 2006. He was removed from ministry in 1992, retired in 1993 to New CarlisleIndiana where he lived with another family, according to church records. He died in 2005.
In 1993, Chicago Catholic officials wrote to Ft. Wayne’s bishop alerting him to Dilla’s status and presence back in Indiana.
12--Fr. Jerome Plourde who was originally a Minnesota cleric. In 2015, his name was publicly released as a priest who has been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with a minor in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. In 1960, he was at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Syracuse and from 1970-1978, he was at the Crosier House of Studies both in the Ft. Wayne-South Bend diocese.
13--Fr. Cornelius J. Ryan, who was a Holy Cross priest of the Indiana Province who was ordained in 1966. Ryan lived and worked in Africa until 1999, when he returned to Indiana. In June 2013, Fr. Ryan was administrator of St. Joseph-Hessen Castle parish in Fort Wayne when he was removed due to what his superior deemed a "credible" allegation of the sexual abuse of a boy 20 years earlier in Africa. Ryan had been sent to the Ft. Wayne parish in 2011, after the parish's previous pastor was removed due to allegations of child sexual abuse. From 2002 until 2011, he was at St. Therese of Little Flower parish in Ft. Wayne. He also spent time at Our Lady of Fatima House in Notre Dame in 2011.
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