Monsignor in Diocese of La Crosse cited for disorderly conduct

Bernard O. McGarty cited for incident at salon in Wausau

Reverend Monsignor Bernard O. McGarty with the Diocese of La Crosse was cited for disorderly conduct for an incident at a salon in Wausau Thursday afternoon.

According to the citation from the Wausau Police Department, McGarty, 89, was getting a massage at about 3:45 p.m. The massage therapist was rubbing his leg when he lifted up the blanket around his groin area and told her to rub oil on his genitals.

The citation stated that the massage therapist said no and then ran out of the room. She told Wausau police McGarty then yelled an obscenity after her.

“I think it’s unfortunate that someone that represents the catholic church and arrives discussing the fact they’re a priest¬† in the Catholic Church and dressed in the robes of a Catholic priest would behave in that manner,” said Lt. Matt Barnes from the Wausau Police Department.

McGarty admitted to police he did tell the massage therapist to rub oil on his genitals. McGarty also told police he was in town for a funeral and was heading back to La Crosse Thursday night.

On Monday, December 15, the Diocese of La Crosse released the following statement:

“We are saddened to learn of a recent situation involving Msgr. Bernard McGarty, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. According to diocesan policy as stated in the pastoral letter On Sexual Misconduct for the Diocese of La Crosse, Msgr. McGarty, from this moment forward, is not to have any public ministry while this current situation is investigated.”

Also on Monday, Viterbo University released the following statement:

“Effective immediately, Msgr. Bernard McGarty will not be serving as Viterbo’s Visiting Scholar in Ecumenical Studies or presenting occasional guest lectures.”