A Winona Diocese priest has been arrested for allegedly molesting a girl.
We applaud this very brave girl and her grandmother. The child was smart and strong enough to promptly report and the grandmother was smart and strong enough to call police. All too often, even now, Catholics who see, suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes call church officials, instead of secular officials.
Many times, predator priests have fled overseas after being accused or arrested. If Fr. Koppala is released on bail, we hope secular or church authorities take his passport.
It’s now up to the Winona Catholic bishop to use his vast resources to urge others with information or suspicions about this cleric to step forward. The bishop should use his diocesan website and newspaper and parish bulletins and pulpit announcements to beg anyone with potentially helpful details to call p police and prosecutors. In a criminal investigation, no tidbit – no matter how small, old or seemingly insignificant – should be withheld from law enforcement.
Now is no time to be complacent. We can’t assume that Fr. Koppala will be found guilty or be kept away from children. It’s easy for other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to sit back, do nothing, and hope for the best. But that’s irresponsible. Every single person who has knowledge or suspicions of misdeeds by Fr. Koppala has a moral and civic duty to call police now.