Former Viterbo University president named in child sexual abuse report

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UPDATE: In an email to News 8 Now, current Viterbo University President Glena Temple said since learning of the Diocese’s findings, she has been discussing with the board any necessary actions. She said she is not aware of any information about allegations involving the university. Temple said she notified current students and employees, along with alumni of the announcement.

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)– A former Viterbo University president is among the clergy with a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse. On Saturday, the Diocese of La Crosse released a list of clergy who had substantiated accusations of child sexual abuse against them.

The late J. Thomas Finucan was included with the names and pastoral information of 24 other priests and deacons. Those in the report either were diocesan clergy, non-diocesan clergy with a substantiated allegation in the Diocese of La Crosse, or non-diocesan clergy who spent time in the Diocese of La Crosse and whose name appears on a list in another diocese or religious order:

Finucan served as the university’s president from 1970 to 1980, according to a Viterbo University statement. He then became a member of the board of trustees.

“Join us in praying for all survivors of sexual abuse. Their healing and well-being are of the utmost importance,” said Glena Temple, current president of Viterbo University, in a statement.

Finucan was ordained on Dec. 17, 1955, according to the Diocese. He served in a variety of roles both inside and outside of the Diocese of La Crosse.

Pastoral Assignments, per the report:

Immaculate Conception, Fountain City
Viterbo University, La Crosse
Most Sacred Heart, Pine Creek
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Richland Center
St. Stanislaus, Stevens Point
St. Mary (Immaculate Conception), Wausau – Newman High School
St. Lawrence, Wisconsin Rapids – Assumption High School

Outside Diocese of La Crosse – College Seminary Study
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, St. Paul, MN
St. Mary’s College of Minnesota, Winona, MN

He had one substantiated allegation. However, the diocese said not all accusations were included. Further, the report does not say when or where the conduct occurred.

The board of trustees said in a statement that on behalf of the Viterbo University community, it condemns clergy abuse of any kind and prays for all survivors and their families.

“We support the Diocese’s recent public [acknowledgment] of past abuses, and we hope this action helps survivors and their families as they try to heal,” the statement said.

Finucan died on May 14, 2018.

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