By his own account, Gerald Funcheon of the Catholic Order of the Holy Cross - the Croisers - started abusing young boys in the 1970's here in the Twin Cities.Let's stipulate that this guy was, and is, a monster. Let's also stipulate that, like all the predators, he should have been stopped. But there's a problem in the report. Here's more:
"I suspect, and I don't remember, it would have been at it St. Odilia's," he testified in a 2012 deposition.
"The guy was a wolf," according to David Bidney, one of kids who says he was abused starting when he was just 10. "They hurt me bad. And they hurt a lot of kids bad."
In addition to St. Odilia's in Shoreview, Father Jerry served in parishes and schools in Anoka, Onamia, and St. Cloud plus other assignments literally from coast-to-coast.
At least one of the complaints was from Minnesota, because the memo suggests talking to Father Kevin McDonough about the "Statute of Limitations" here. That's the same church official now at the center of a legal battle over whether he'll be forced to testify about how the church handled predatory priests.We don't know if any conversation actually took place. Here's the point, at least from KARE's perspective:
And the priest's deposition? It's been posted publicly on YouTube for nearly a year.Coverup, right? That must be it. Well, not necessarily. The list of priests is here. If you look at the list, you'll notice something. The vast majority of the priests on the list are diocesan priests, along with a handful of order priests and monks. Jerry Funcheon was a Crosier, an order priest. The report says so right at the beginning.
And even though it's there for anybody to see, when the Archdiocese released its original list of abusive priests back in December Father Jerry Funcheon wasn't on it.
He wasn't added until last week, after an outside company hired by the church recommended it.
The Crosiers were at St. Odilia, which is a large parish in Shoreview, for a long time, but they pulled up stakes in 2007. It's difficult to explain the role of Catholic orders to a largely non-Catholic audience, but it's important to understand that while order priests sometimes do become pastors or work in parishes, it's pretty rare. It's also important to understand that order priests aren't really answerable to any diocese. Fr. McDonough may have been advised about Funcheon, although we don't know that. McDonough would not have been able to do much about the abuse in any event, because the Crosiers were responsible for Funcheon.
Assuming McDonough knew about Funcheon, could he have turned him into the authorities? Maybe, but this is why the statute of limitations matters. If Funcheon's actions took place in the 1970s and McDonough theoretically learned about them in 1992, it's quite likely that the statute of limitations would have run out by then. And if Funcheon were no longer in Minnesota at the time, it's hard to say what he could have done. No law enforcement agency pursues extradition for crimes that fall outside of the statute of limitations.
I don't dispute that Fr. McDonough has a lot of questions to answer about the other priests on the initial list, and potentially other priests as well. But there was never much he could have done about Funcheon, even if he did know about him. And KARE presented no evidence that he did know. I would suggest that KARE follow up with the Crosiers about this case.