A message to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Omaha

 

A message to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Omaha

List of Substantiated Claims of Clergy Sexual Abuse of or Sexual Misconduct with a Minor

From a review of personnel files from 1978-2018

This site is reviewed and updated quarterly. This site was last updated on 8/31/20.
Records marked with * have been most recently updated.

Glossary

For the purposes of information on this website

Terms used in the list below

  • Affiliation: The diocese or religious community to which a cleric belongs

  • Description: Type of behavior

  • Extern: A priest of a religious order or a diocese other than the Archdiocese of Omaha

  • Laicized: Permanently removed from the clerical state by the authority of the Holy See

  • LE: Law enforcement

  • Minor: Person under 19 years of age

  • Posthumous: A claim received after the death of the alleged perpetrator

  • Removed: Faculties for public ministry were withdrawn

  • Report: A communication of a claim to archdiocesan officials and/or law enforcement

  • Sexual Abuse: Unwanted sexual contact, including any of the following: touching over and/or under clothing, penetration, sexual communication

  • Status: Eventual outcome of ministry

  • Substantiated: A claim supported by sufficient evidence and/or information so that the Archdiocese believes it is true

Abbreviations for Religious Orders


  • OAR: Order of Augustinian Recollects (Augustinians)

  • SJ: Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

  • SOLT: Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

  • SSC: Society of St. Columban (Columbans)

  • SSP: Society of St. Paul (Paulists)

Note:

This list does not include any claims currently under review by law enforcement or pending internal investigation. Internal investigations only commence after law enforcement has been contacted.

In addition to the names on the list below, there are:

  • seven deceased priests of the Archdiocese of Omaha against whom allegations of the sexual abuse of a minor have been made posthumously. It has not been possible to substantiate those claims. This does not mean, however, that those making allegations are not credible;
  • five former seminarians who were dismissed for substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.


Some religious orders may produce their own reports.
As those are made available and if they include a religious cleric who served in the Archdiocese of Omaha, they will be linked here:

Section 1.

Substantiated allegations of misconduct with and/or the abuse of a minor which took place after the implementation of Safe Environment standards in 2002

Fiala, John (SOLT)

Affiliation: Omaha, on leave to SOLT
Date of Act(s): 2008
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2014
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha for religious order, 1996. Deceased, 2017. Incarcerated in Texas for sexual abuse at time of death.
Description:Sexual abuse, two victims

Parish assignments:

  • Papillion, St. Columbkille
  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Omaha, St. Joan of Arc
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Omaha, Christ the King
  • Spencer, St. Mary
  • Wisner, St. Joseph
  • Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

Jordan, Deacon Emilio Morales

Affiliation: Extern, Diocese of Zacapa (Guatemala)
Date of Act(s): 2000-2002
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2003
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha in 2003. Whereabouts unknown.
Description: Concerns about misconduct rose to level for referral to LE. Parish assignments:

  • South Sioux City, St. Michael
  • Omaha, St. Ann
  • Schuyler, St. Augustine

Nigli, Francis

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 2013
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2013
Status: Removed from public ministry in June 2018 for additional misconduct with a young adult, subsequent to this allegation.
Description: Concerns of misconduct rose to level for referral to LE. After professional assessment, was not prohibited from ministry.

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Vincent de Paul
  • Papillion, St. Columbkille
  • O'Neill, St. Patrick; Amelia, St. Joseph
  • Omaha, St. Wenceslaus

Syring, Andrew

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 2013 and early 2014
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2009, 2014
Status: Left priestly ministry by resignation in October 2018
Description: Disputed; Rose to level for LE referral regarding concerns of misconduct. Multiple allegations. After professional assessment, was not prohibited from ministry.

Parish assignments:

  • Schuyler, Divine Mercy
  • Omaha, St. Bernard
  • Omaha. St. Wenceslaus
  • West Point, St. Mary; Monterey, St. Boniface; Aloys, St. Aloysius; St. Charles, St. Anthony

Thome, Deacon Duane

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 2016-2018
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2018
Status: Removed in June 2018
Description: Disputed; Rose to level for LE referral regarding concerns of misconduct.

Section 2.

Substantiated allegations of the abuse of a minor which took place prior to 2002

Activity while serving in the Archdiocese of Omaha

Allgaier, Robert

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): Prior to 2001
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2001
Status: Removed, 2001
Description: Child pornography

Parish assignments:

  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Ralston, St. Gerald

Arkfeld, Richard

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1980s and prior
Reports: Diocese: 1980s, 2010, 2014, 2018. No LE report was made, as no individual minor was named. However, the unnamed reports are consistent and the claims of abuse are considered to be substantiated.
Status: Retired and deceased, 1996
Description: Sexual abuse. The total number of victims is unknown.

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Rose
  • Atkinson, St. Joseph
  • Omaha, Holy Cross
  • Clyde, St. Patrick
  • Lynch, Assumption; Niobrara, St. William
  • Ewing, St. Peter of Alcantara
  • Randolph, St. Jane Frances de Chantal
  • St. Charles, St. Anthony
  • Coleridge, St. Michael; Belden, St. Mary
  • Newcastle, St. Peter; Ponca, St. Joseph

Buckson, John

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): Prior to 1994
Reports: Diocese: 1994
Status: Resigned, 2002
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Omaha, St. Francis of Assisi
  • Omaha, St. Agnes
  • Omaha, Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Schuyler, St. Augustine

Cleary, Donald*

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): ca. 1980, ca. 1987
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2018, 2019
Status: Removed, 2018; Laicized, 2019
Description: Sexual abuse, multiple victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Holy Cross
  • Omaha, Christ the King
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Omaha, St. Patrick
  • O'Neill, St. Patrick
  • Fordyce, St. John; Constance, St. Joseph
  • Wayne, St. Mary
  • Fullerton, St. Peter; Clarks, St. Peter
  • North Bend, St. Charles Borromeo; Snyder, St. Leo the Great
  • Omaha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Dvorak, Franklin

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1970-1972
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2012
Status: Removed in 2012; Living life of prayer and penance
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • O'Neill, St. Patrick
  • Spencer, St. Mary
  • Cleridge, St. Michael; Mission of Belden
  • Hartington, Holy Trinity
  • Omaha, St. Wencesalus
  • Omaha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Feeney, John (Extern)

Affiliation: Extern, Diocese of Green Bay
Date of Act(s): 1962-1963
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2012
Status: Removed from ministry by Diocese of Green Bay, 1986. Laicized, 2005.
Description: Sexual abuse
No parish assignment(s)

Fiala, John (SOLT)

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1984-1986
Reports: Diocese: 2002, 2010, 2011
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha for religious order, 1996. Deceased, 2017. Incarcerated in Texas for sexual abuse at time of death.
Description:Sexual abuse, two victims

Parish assignments:

  • Papillion, St. Columbkille
  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Omaha, St. Joan of Arc
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Omaha, Christ the King
  • Spencer, St. Mary
  • Wisner, St. Joseph
  • Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity

Finch, Joseph

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): Several years, beginning in 1971
Reports: Diocese: 1996; LE: 2002, 2010
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha in 1963 for military chaplaincy. In 1969, relocated to the Diocese of Phoenix. In 1992, given permission by the Bishop of Albany to serve as chaplain to cloistered convent. Left the convent in early 2018. Whereabouts unknown.
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Our Lady of Lourdes
  • Boys Town, Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel)
  • Archdiocese of the Military Services
  • Diocese of Albany

Gaughan, James (Extern)

Affiliation: Extern, Diocese of Mandeville
Date of Act(s): Uncertain
Reports: Diocese: 2003
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha for the Diocese of Mandeville, 1999. Deceased, 2009
Description: Sexual abuse. This case was referred to the Diocese of Mandeville.

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Pius X
  • Hartington, Holy Trinity
  • Bellevue, St. Bernadette
  • Omaha, St. Thomas More
  • Duncan, St. Stanislaus
  • Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica

Gill, Edward

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1962, 1963-1964
Reports: Diocese: 2004
Status: Retired, 1999. Deceased, 2006
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Coleridge, St. Michael
  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Omaha, St. Agnes
  • Plainview, St. Paul
  • Butte, Sts. Peter & Paul
  • Madison, St. Leonard
  • Atkinson, St. Joseph
  • Central City, St. Michael
  • Stanton, St. Peter
  • Osmond, St. Mary of the Seven Dolors
  • St. Edward, St. Edward

Glennon, Tom (SSC)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1980-1991
Reports: Diocese: 2018
Status: Retired; Left NE 2018
Description: Sexual abuse
No parish assignment(s)

Henry, Joseph (OAR)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1961-1962
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2012
Status: Deceased
Description: Posthumous; Sexual abuse

Herek, Daniel

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1970s through 1990s
Reports: Diocese and LE: Multiple
Status: Removed, 1998; Prison, 1998; Laicized, 2006
Description: Child pornography and sexual abuse; Number of victims is unknown.

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Assumption
  • Omaha, Christ the King
  • Omaha, St. Joan of Arc
  • Omaha, Mary Our Queen
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Omaha, St. Bernard
  • Coleridge, St. Michael; Belden, St. Mary
  • Beemer, Holy Cross
  • Omaha. St. Ann
  • Omaha, St. Richard

Ho, Joseph Hiepvan (Extern)

Affiliation: Extern, Archdiocese of Sydney
Date of Act(s): 1979-1980
Reports: Diocese: 1990, 2010; Archdiocese of Sydney notified in 2010, 2018
Status: Left Archdiocese of Omaha in 1992. As of December 2018, no longer engaged in public ministry.
Description: 1990: Boundary violation; 2010: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Hartington, Holy Trinity
  • Omaha, Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Omaha, Sts. Peter & Paul

Kelly, Michael

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1956-1996
Reports: Diocese: 1998; LE: 2004
Status: Retired, 1995; Removed, 2002; Deceased, 2003
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Elgin, St. Boniface
  • Omaha, St. Cecilia Cathedral
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Randolph, St. Jane Frances de Chantal
  • Battle Creek, St. Patrick
  • Neligh, St. Francis of Assisi; Clearwater, St. Theresa of Avila
  • Laurel, St. Mary
  • Genoa, St. Rose of lima
  • Lyons, St. Joseph

Kenney, Daniel (SJ)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1985-1987
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2012, 2019
Status: Removed, 2002
Description: Sexual abuse, multiple victims. This case was overseen by the former Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. New claims received in 2019, reported to law enforcement, and overseen by the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus.

Kruse, Jay

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 2004
Reports: Diocese and LE : 2004
Status: Removed, 2004; Laicized, 2006
Description: Child pornography

Parish assignments:

  • Fremont. St. Patrick
  • Roncalli High School
  • Omaha, St. Pius X
  • Wynot, Sacred Heart; St. James, St. Philip & James
  • Cedar Catholic High School
  • Ewing, St. Peter of Alcantara; Deloit Township, St. John
  • Pope John XXIII High School
  • Verdigre, St. Wenceslaus; Niobrara, St. William
  • O'Neill, St. Patrick; Amelia, St. Joseph

Kulangara, Larry Toms (SSP)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1995-2000
Reports: Diocese: 2000; LE: 2004 and 2017
Status: Served in Archdiocese of Omaha from 1997-2000. Returned to his community in 2000. Presumed to be active in the Nigeria-India Province of the SSP. This matter was referred to the Holy See in 2017.
Description: Sexual abuse, two victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Holy Ghost
  • Omaha, St. Stephen the Martyr
  • Norfolk, Immaculata Monastery
  • Omaha, Holy Cross

Lukes, Duane

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1964-1990s
Reports: Diocese: 1985, 2004, 2005, 2019; LE: 2015, 2019
Status: Deceased, 1998
Description: Sexual abuse, multiple victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha. St. Stanislaus
  • Dodge, St. Wenceslaus
  • Omaha, St. Pius X
  • Lindsay, Holy Family
  • Omaha, St. Ann
  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Niobrara, St. William
  • St. Edward, St. Edward
  • Osmond, St. Mary of the Seven Dolors
  • Norfolk, Immaculata Monastery

McMahon, Aloysius

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): Late 1970s
Reports: Diocese: 1998, 2019; LE: 2004, 2019
Status: Retired, 1997; Deceased, 2011
Description: Disputed; Sexual abuse, two victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Wencesalus
  • Boys Town, Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel)
  • Mission Work in Chile
  • Boys Town, Immaculate Conception (Dowd Chapel)
  • Rummel High School
  • Pierce, St. Joseph
  • Mission Work in Peru
  • Wisner, St. Joseph
  • Omaha, St. Frances Cabrini
  • Omaha, St. Joan of Arc
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Mission Work in Ecuador

Merkel, Mark

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1999
Reports: Diocese and LE: 1999 and 2004
Status: Removed, 2004; Laicized, 2006
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Fremont. St. Patrick
  • Omaha, St. Cecilia Cathedral
  • O'Neill, St. Patrick
  • West Point Central Catholic School
  • Beemer, Holy Cross

Palmese, Anthony (OAR)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1984-1985
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2013
Status: Deceased, 2012
Description: Posthumous; Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Holy Ghost

Peschel, Roland

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1967
Reports: Diocese: 1993 and 2010; LE: 2010
Status: Retired and removed, 2010
Description: 1993: Disputed; Sexual abuse.
2010: Admitted; Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Dodge, St. Wenceslaus
  • Creighton, St. Ludger
  • Omaha, St. Mary
  • Omaha, St. Bernard
  • Omaha, St. James
  • Omaha, St. Margaret Mary
  • Omaha, St. Bernard
  • Randolph, St. Jane Frances de Chantal
  • O'Neill, St. Patick; Amelisa, St. Joseph; Emmett, Epiphany
  • Omaha, St. Bernard
  • Omaha, St. Bernardette
  • Fremont, St. Patrick
  • Dodge, St. Wenceslaus; Olean, Sacred Heart
  • Ralston, St. Gerald

Petrusic, Anthony

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1970s
Reports: Diocese: 2002
Status: Retired, 1994; Removed, 2002; Deceased, 2010
Description: Sexual abuse, two victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Sts. Peter & Paul
  • Ryan High School
  • Omaha, St. Catherine Hospital
  • Omaha, Notre Dame Convent
  • Omaha, Sts. Peter & Paul
  • Omaha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • Croation Catholic Union of US & Canada

Purnell, Deacon Tom

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): Pre-1991
Reports: Diocese and LE: 1991
Status: Presumed deceased
Description: Sexual abuse, two victims

Rizzo, John

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1962, 1972
Reports: Diocese: 1993, 2002, 2010
Status: Removed, 2002; Retired, 2003
Description: Sexual abuse, two victims. 1972 allegation disputed.

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Ann
  • Omaha, Holy Cross
  • Mission Work in Chile
  • Boys Town, Immaculate Conception
  • Dixon, St. Anne
  • Genoa, St. Rose
  • Ponca, St. Joseph; Waterbury, Immaculate Conception
  • Menominee, St. Boniface
  • Stanton, St. Peter
  • Creighton, St. Ludger
  • Clarks, St. Peter
  • Omaha, St. Peter
  • Omaha, St. Ann

Robinson, Perry (SJ)

Affiliation: Extern
Date of Act(s): 1980s
Reports: Diocese: Late 2011; LE: Unknown—Conduct alleged to have occurred in Milwaukee
Status: Removed in early 2012
Description: Sexual abuse. This case was overseen by the former Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus.

Parish assignments:

  • Ralston, St. Gerald

Salanitro, Al

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1990-1994
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2011, 2012
Status: Removed, 2012; Laicized, 2013
Description: Sexual abuse, three victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
  • Omaha, Holy Cross
  • Laurel, St. Mary; Dixon, St. Anne
  • Blair, St. Francis Borgia
  • Bellevue, St. Bernadette

Saxon, George*

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1949, 1958
Reports: Diocese: 2018, 2020; LE: 2018, 2020
Status: Deceased, 1971
Description: Sexual abuse
Parish assignments:

  • Sacred Heart, Omaha
  • St. Rose, Hooper
  • St. Patrick, Omaha
  • St. Michael, Coleridge
  • St. Peter, Stanton
  • Sacred Heart, Wynot
  • St. Patrick, Clyde

Sellentin, Thomas

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1968-1989
Reports: Diocese: 1968-present; LE: 2018, 2019
Status: Removed, 2002; Laicized, 2019
Description: Sexual abuse, 20 to 38 victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha. St. Stanislaus
  • Elgin, St. Boniface
  • Omaha, St. Joan of Arc
  • West Point, St. Mary
  • Lindsay, Holy Family
  • Omaha, Blessed Sacrament
  • Spencer, St. Mary
  • Fullerton, St. Peter
  • Menominee, St. Boniface
  • Howells, Sts. Peter & Paul and St. John
  • North Bend, St. Charles Borromeo; Snyder, St. Leo the Great

Starostka, John

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1972-1974, 2000
Reports: Diocese: 2001, 2002; LE: 2004
Status: Removed, 2002; Deceased, 2012
Description: Sexual abuse

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, St. Francis of Assisi
  • Creigthon, St. Ludger
  • Omaha, St. Philip Neri
  • Omaha, St. Stanislaus
  • Platte Center, St. Joseph
  • Newcastle, St. Peter
  • Omaha, St. Cecilia Cathedral
  • Cedar Rapids, St. Anthony
  • Primrose, St. Mary
  • Omaha, St. Francis of Assisi

Steinhausen, Robert

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1982-1986
Reports: Diocese: 2008, 2019; LE: 2019
Status: Deceased, 1993
Description: Sexual abuse, multiple victims

Parish assignments:

  • Omaha, Holy Cross
  • South Sioux City, St. Michael
  • Spencer, St. Mary
  • Norfolk, Sacred Heart
  • Papillion, St. Columbkille

Section 3.

Activity after leaving the Archdiocese of Omaha or after leaving ministry


Henry, Patrick

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1970s-1980s
Reports: Diocese of Cleveland: ca. 2008
Status: Transferred to the Diocese of Cleveland, 1997
Description: Sexual abuse. This case was overseen by the Diocese of Cleveland.

Parish assignments:

  • St. Columbkille, Papillion
  • Maryknoll Missions
  • South Sioux City, St. Michael
  • Maryknoll Missions
  • Diocese of Cleveland

Section 4.

Activity Before Entering Formation or Seminary

Pickett, Deacon Robert

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1978
Reports: Diocese: 2016; LE: 1978
Status: Removed, 2016
Description: Sexual abuse

Zyla, Jeff

Affiliation: Omaha
Date of Act(s): 1978-1981, ca. 1996
Reports: Diocese and LE: 2003, 2018
Status: Removed, 2003
Description: Sexual abuse. Allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor was received in 2018, occurring ca. 1996, after ordination to the priesthood. Referral to law enforcement was made December of 2018. To our knowledge, law enforcement declined to investigate.

Parish assignments:

  • South Sioux City, St. Michael
  • Omaha, St. Leo
  • Petersburg, St. John the Baptist; Raeville, St. Bonaventure
  • Wisner, St. Joseph
  • West Point Central Catholic High School
  • Aloys, St. Aloysius