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Bishop George Leo Thomas

Bishop George Leo Thomas of the Helena Diocese is seen in this file photo. 

The Diocese of Helena posted an online list Wednesday of every employee accused of sexually abusing a minor while working there. 

The list dates back to the 1930s and includes the names of 80 priests, Ursuline Sisters, lay workers and others. A settlement between the Diocese and hundreds of victims requires that the names be posted and remain pinned to the Diocese homepage for the next decade.

Dan Bartleson, spokesman for the Diocese, said this is the latest stride in the “victim oriented approach” the Diocese has taken throughout the litigation process.

“We feel like this step is one of the more difficult steps for the Diocese in that some of these names will leave questions for the faithful,” Bartleson said. “It’s difficult to think of someone you grew up with who was good to you and your family being accused of sexual abuse, but we need to make sure we err on the side of victims if in any way this could contribute to their healing or give them any kind of closure.”

Bryan G. Smith of Tamaki Law, the firm that represented 95 of the 362 victims who sued the Catholic institution, called this the most important non-economic piece of the settlement.

“It’s a recognition by the church that they have, or had, within their ranks credibly accused perpetrators of sexual abuse,” Smith said.

Allegations of sexual abuse within the Diocese of Helena, which oversees more than 60 parishes and 35 missions across western Montana, began surfacing years ago. The resulting lawsuit drove the Diocese into bankruptcy before it was settled in federal court this March. The agreement included $20 million in payments to victims and several non-monetary factors, such as the list of names.

Smith said that among the reasons why victims stay silent for years is that they feel isolated. Seeing a list of names can empower a victim, he said, and show that individual he or she is not alone.

Smith said the release makes the settlement “complete in that it is not just an exchange of money that is for the release of the claim. It is something more than that; it is a recognition that they are atoning for what happened.”

Smith said the Diocese didn’t resist putting up the list of names.

Bartleson added that the Diocese itself went through records and added names of individuals who were internally accused of abuse.

Much of the alleged abuse occurred from the 1940s through the 1970s, and most of the perpetrators are dead. The list itself was put together by the victims.

“(Helena Bishop George Thomas) mentioned during the court proceedings he wants to make sure the victims know that they are believed and they are respected, so the list was up to them,” Bartleson said.

The Diocese then went back and verified names with records so the list could include the dates and locations of work. There are 12 individuals on the list who the Diocese could not find in its records.

The list also includes:

  • 21 Diocese of Helena priests
  • Three “lay persons” at St. Ignatius
  • 21 sisters who worked at St. Ignatius
  • Six sisters from other communities who served at the Diocese of Helena
  • Three Norbertine priests who served at the Diocese of Helena
  • 14 names of Jesuit Priests of Brothers from the Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, most served in Montana

Bartleson said if any more cases come to light the list will be modified.

The next step is for Thomas to preside over reconciliation liturgies in churches and parishes across the Diocese this fall. Bartleson said Thomas will be inviting victims, church leaders and members of the congregation to the meetings.

“They’ll be gathering together to pray for healing and reconciliation,” Bartleson said.

The full list is printed here as seen on the Diocese website Wednesday.

Diocese of Helena Priests

Note that of the 417 priests ordained for the Diocese of Helena, 20 (4.8%) have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, one has been acquitted.

James Barry – Ordained: 1951; Assignments: St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1951-56; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1956-57; Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1957-58; US Air Force Chaplain: 1958-62; St. John Parish, Fairfield: 1962-66; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 1966-80; Died September 8, 1980

John Bauer – Ordained: 1963; Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1963-64; Sacred Heart Parish, Butte: 1964; Graduate Studies, St. Louis University: 1964-66; Director of Catholic Charities, Helena: 1966-1970; Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1968-1970; Leave of absence: September 1, 1970; Died: October 26, 1992

Harry Butori – Ordained: 1952; Assignments: Graduate studies, Rome: 1952-3; St. Michael Parish, Conrad: summer 1953; Carroll College: 1953-56; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1956-57; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: summer 1957; St. Matthew Parish, Kalispell: 1957-59; Cathedral Parish and Chancery, Helena: 1959-66; Girls Central High School, Butte: 1966-68; St. William Parish, Dutton: 1968-72; St Teresa of Avila Parish, Whitehall: 1972-80; St. Joseph Parish, Choteau: 1980-86; St. James Hospital, Butte: 1986-1990; Catholic Community North, Butte: 1990-1999; retired (residence at St. Patrick rectory, Butte): September 1, 1999; Died: March 14, 2005

John Delane – Ordained: 1919; Assignments: St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: summer 1919; Mt St. Charles (Carroll) College: 1919-20; Chaplain, Montana State Prison, and State Hospitals at Galen and Warm Springs: 1920-26; St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1926-27; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1927-28; St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Laurin: 1928-39; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 39-42; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1942-56; Chaplain St. Joseph Hospital, Deer Lodge: 1956-63; residence at Carroll College: 1963-71; Died: January 30, 1971

Harry Delaney – Ordained: 1925; Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: summer/fall 1925; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1925-34; St. Joseph Hospital, Deer Lodge: 1934-36; Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Eureka: 1936-54; General Hospital, Kalispell: 1954-57; Died: March 11, 1957

George Ferguson – Ordained: 1956; Assignments: Anaconda: summer 1956; Sacred Heart Parish, Butte: 1956-57; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1957-59; Newman Chaplain/Christ the King Parish, Missoula: 1959-71; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1971-75; Mission in Guatemala: 1975-77; St. Anthony Parish, Missoula: 1977-78; St. William Parish, Thompson Falls: 1978-80; Sick leave, residence in Mexico: 1980-86; Died: June 12, 1986

Joseph Finnegan – Ordained: May 22, 1965; Note that criminal accusations were taken to court, resulting in acquittal; Assignments: Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1965-72; Catholic Charities, Helena: 1972-73; Butte Youth Service Center: 1973-82; Leave: 1982-89; Special Assignment: 1989-93 and 1994-2002; St. Teresa Parish, Whitehall: 1993-94; Retired: July 1, 2002

A.M.D. Gillen – ordained May 29, 1926 (in Canada); Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Richard, Columbia Falls: 1950-51; St. Teresa of the Little Flower, Browning: 1951-1965; Left Diocese: September 1, 1965; Died: July 30, 1987

Daniel Harrington – Ordained: 1932; Assignments: Graduate Studies, Rome: 1932-33; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1933-36; St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1936-37; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1937-39; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1939-42; Sacred Heart Parish, Ronan: 1942-1949; North American College, Rome: 1949-1952; Director of Catholic Charities, Helena: 1953-59; St. Joseph Home and St. John Hospital, Helena: 1958-59; Chaplain, Warm Springs: 1959-65; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1965-71; Holy Savior Parish, Butte: 1971-72; Retired (residence in Butte): November 10, 1972; Died: November 23, 1997

Robert Hartman – Ordained: 1947; Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: summer 1949; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1949-56; Good Shepherd Home, Helena: 1956-65; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1965-73; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1973-77; St. Catherine Parish, Boulder: 1977-79; Holy Cross Parish, Townsend: 1979-85; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1985-94; Retired: March 1, 1994; Died: August 12, 1996

Daniel Hillen – Ordained: 1969; Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1970-71; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1971-74; Graduate studies: 1974 and 1977-79; Carroll College: 1974-2002; leave to begin art studio: 2002; Died: July 19, 2003

John Kerrigan – Ordained: 1954; Assignments: St. Patrick Parish, Butte: 1954-55; St. Francis Parish, Hamilton: 1955-56; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1956-59; St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: 1959-62; St. Rose Parish, Dillon: 1962-64; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1964-65; Little Flower Parish, Browning: summer 1965; Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1965-66; St. Michael Parish, Drummond: 1966-72; St. Bartholomew Parish, White Sulphur Springs: 1972-77; St. Joseph Parish, Choteau: 1977-1980; St. James Parish, Plains: 1980-84; Sacred Heart Parish, Ronan: 1984; Died: July 21, 1984

Paul Kirchen – Ordained: 1929; Assignment: Carroll College 1929-1980; retired, residence at Carroll College: July 1, 1980; Died: April 19, 1989

Emmett Lowney – Ordained: 1949; Assignments: St. Paul Parish, Anaconda: 1949-51; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1951-54; Chancery and Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1954-56; St. John Parish, Butte: 1956-57; St. Catherine Parish, Boulder: 1957-64; St. Michael Parish, Drummond: 1964-67; Retreat House, Deer Lodge: 1967-68; St. Mary Mission Parish, Stevensville: 1968-69; leave to Michigan: 1969; Died: July 31, 1975

Bernard McCarthy – Ordained: 1947; Assignments: Cathedral, Helena: 1947-49; St. Patrick, Butte: 1949-52 & 1971-78; Sacred Heart, Ronan: 1957-68; St. Lawrence, Walkerville: 1968-71; St. Michael, Conrad: 1979-86; Risen Christ, Kalispell: 1986-89; Catholic Community North, Butte: 1989-90; St. James Community Hospital, Butte: 1990-92; Retired: 1992; Died: September 16, 2003

James McCormick – Ordained: 1924; Assignments: Carroll College: 1924-26 and 1927-51; St. Lawrence Parish, Walkerville: 1926-27 and 1951-56; Immaculate Conception Parish, Butte: 1956-67; Died: June 14, 1967

Dusan Okorn – Ordained: 1947; Arrived in Diocese of Helena: December 1949; Assignments: St. Joseph Home, Helena: 1950-52; St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1952-53; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1953-55; St. Michael Parish, Conrad: 1955-58; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1958-63; St. Catherine Parish, Bigfork: 1963-71; St. Mary Mission Parish, Stevensville: 1971-78; Sycamore Center, Living Water Mission, Seeley Lake, Our Lady of the Swan Valley Mission, Condon: 1978-2006; Retired: 2006; Died: January 10, 2010

Robert O’Donnell – Ordained: 1966; Assignments: St. John Parish and Girls Central High School, Butte: 1966-68; Central High School, Helena: 1968-1969; Central High School, Butte: 1969-1972; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1972-1979; Chancery: 1979-85; St. Mary Parish, Helena: 1983-85; Sabbatical: 1985-86; Diocese of Honolulu: 1987; Incardinated into Diocese of Honolulu: July 17, 1990; Died: July 29, 1995

Wilson Smart – Ordained: 1957; Assignments: St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1957-59; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1959-60 and 1966-69; St. Anthony Parish, Missoula: 1960-63; Cathedral Parish, Helena: 1963-65; St. Mary Parish, Butte: 1965-66; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1969-74; Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Eureka: 1974-80; St. Bartholomew Parish, White Sulphur Springs: 1980-82; St. Joseph Parish, Harlowton: 1980-90; Leave of absence: 1990; Laicized: July 9, 2003; Died: November 10, 2006

Leonard Spraycar – Ordained: 1947; Assignments: St. Peter Parish, Anaconda: 1947-48 and 1954-55; St. Ann Parish, Butte: 1948-51; Chancery, Legendary Lodge & Sacred Heart Mission, Wolf Creek: 1951-54; St. Joseph Parish, Butte: 1955-59; St. Thomas Parish, Helmville: 1959-64; St. Philip Parish, Philipsburg: 1964-66; St. John Parish, Fairfield: 1966-68; St. Joseph Parish, Anaconda: 1968-73; St. Richard Parish, Columbia Falls: 1973-78; St. William Parish, Dutton: 1978-80; St. Patrick Hospital, Missoula: 1980-84; Died: March 31, 1984

Patrick Stimatz – Ordained: 1946; Assignments: Holy Rosary Parish, Bozeman: 1946-50; St. John Parish, Butte: 1950-59; St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Laurin: 1959-65; Little Flower Parish, Browning: 1965-72; Chaplain, Montana State Prison: 1972-86; Died: May 4, 1986

Jesuit Priests or Brothers – principally from Oregon Province, Society of Jesus

Names provided by the plaintiffs; assignment information from the National Catholic Directory; other information is from the Oregon Province, Society of Jesus.

Joseph Balfe, SJ – Ordained: 1927; Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Ignatius Mission Parish: 1931-35; 1945-53; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1936 & 44; Left Diocese: 1953; Died: September 29, 1969

Victor Charlo – Jesuit Seminarian; not assigned in Montana

Thomas Connolly, SJ – not assigned in Montana

M.A. Dimier, SJ – [Ordination Date unavailable]; Assignment in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1930-50; Died: June 14, 1950

A.J. Ferretti, SJ (“Fr. Freddy”) – Ordained: 1941; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1953; 1964-69; Left Diocese: 1969; Died: June 28, 1982

Rene Gallant (“Brother Charlie”), SJ – no record of assignments; Died: July 23, 1975 at St. Ignatius

Louis Geis, SJ – Ordained: 1939; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius 1959-62; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1949-56 & 1963-92; Left Diocese 1992; Died: July 8, 1994

Bernard Harris, SJ – Ordained: 1945; Assignment in Diocese: St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1954-69 and 72; Died: September 7, 1972

Egon Mallman, SJ – Ordained: 1929; Assignments in Diocese: St. Anne Parish, Heart Butte: 1934-1976; Left Diocese: 1976; Died: August 20, 1980

Gabriel Menager, SJ – [Ordination date unavailable]; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1940-45; Left Diocese: 1945; Died: July 28 1966

Joseph Obersinner, SJ – Ordained: 1957; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1972-80; St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula: 1989-91; Left Diocese: 1991

Edmund Robinson (“Father Eddy”), SJ – Ordained: 1955; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1963-64; 1969-81; Left Diocese in 1981; Died: May 22, 2014

Br. John Sorisio, SJ – Worked at St. Ignatius from 1915 until his death on July 20, 1957

Louis Taelman, SJ – Ordained: 1898; Assignments in Diocese: St. Ignatius Mission Parish, St. Ignatius: 1930-40 and 1953-58; Left Diocese: 1958; Died: December 24, 1961

Norbertine Priests: while serving in the Diocese of Helena

John Kohnke, O Praem – ordained: March 22, 1937; Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Thomas Parish, Sunburst: 1955; St. William Parish, Shelby: 1960-64; Left diocese: August 19, 1964; Died: September 2, 1987

Martin Philipsen, O Praem – ordained: June 18, 1942; Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. William Parish, Shelby: 1971-78; Left diocese: 1978; Died: August 21, 1988

Peter Pritzl, O Praem – ordained: April 25, 1929; Assignments in Diocese of Helena: St. Margaret Parish, Cut Bank: 1962-63; St. William Parish, Shelby: 1963-71; St. Thomas Parish, Sunburst: 1971-74; Left diocese: 1974; Died: October 3, 1993

Diocese cannot verify the following individuals identified in claims as priests.

Burke (first name unknown)

Byrnes or Burns (first name unknown), SJ

Callan (first name unknown)

Estes (first name unknown)

Gannon (first name unknown), SJ

Gilmore (first name unknown)

Harper (unknown)

John (last name unknown), SJ

Larson (first name unknown), SJ

James O’Brien, SJ

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Sullinger (unknown)

Sullivan (first name unknown)

Lay Persons at St. Ignatius

Mr. Crawford

Dave (last name unknown)

Ms. Knauf

Ursuline Sisters serving at St. Ignatius between 1940 and 1975

Names provided by plaintiffs.

Mother Bernadette, OSU

Sister Camilla, OSU

Sister Catherine, OSU

Mother Cecelia, OSU (Frances Seymor)

Mother Clement Marie, OSU

Sister Daniels, OSU

Mother Finbarr, OSU

Sister Frances, OSU

Mother Grace, OSU

Sister Henrietta, OSU

Sister John, OSU

Mother Loyola, OSU (Rufina Karges)

Sister Mackey, OSU

Mother Marianne, OSU

Sister Mary Laurence, OSU

Sister Margaret, OSU

Sister Marion, OSU

Sister Martin, OSU

Sister Monica, OSU

Sister Rita, OSU

Sister Teresa, OSU

Sisters from other Communities: while serving in the Diocese of Helena

Mother Catherine, RGS – Good Shepherd Home, Helena

Sister Glenniatoss – (religious community uncertain)

Sister Mary Agnes Rose, BVM – Immaculate Conception School, Butte

Sister Mary Victor, SCL – St. Helena School, Helena

Sister Monica, OP – St. Margaret School, Cut Bank

Sister Richildus, OP – St. Margaret School, Cut Bank

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Alexander Deedy can be reached at 447-4081 or alexander.deedy@helenair.com

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