UPDATE: Former Viroqua priest accused of sexual assault out on $10,000 signature bond

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) — A former Chippewa Falls and Viroqua, Wis., priest accused of sexual assault on a child when he was on the faculty of McDonell Area Catholic Schools was released on a $10,000 signature bond during his initial court appearance Thursday.
Father Chas RichmondThe Rev. Charles Richmond, 30, was charged with first- and second-degree sexual assault in connection with incidents involving a 15-year-old female student who now is 19, as News 8 Now reported Wednesday.
New information after the 30-year-old Richmond’s appearance in Chippewa County Circuit Court includes setting a pre-trial conference for 9:15 a.m. Thursday, July 9, in the District Attorney’s office, as well as a review hearing at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, in Branch 3 at the Chippewa County Courthouse.
Richmond, who now lives in Wisconsin Rapids, according to updated court documents, must comply with pretrial monitoring conditions, Judge Steven Cray ordered.
Cray also stipulated that Richmond can have no contact with the complainant or her immediate family, “to include parents, siblings or grandparents.”
The criminal complaint, filed Monday, described the alleged offenses, which are felonies, as “Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child (At Least 3 Violations of 1st or 2nd Degree Sexual Assault).”
A 19-year-old female told a Chippewa Falls police officer on March 5 that Richmond touched her in a sexual manner several times during her sophomore year, before she turned 16, the complaint says.
“Father Richmond was very touchy, always having his hands on her to include touching her shoulder, her back, and her butt,” according to the complaint, which also said he hugged her and asked her to sit on his lap.
Richmond, who was ordained in La Crosse in 2015, is a former McDonell faculty member who most recently served at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua until the La Crosse Diocese became aware of the case Monday and removed him.
A statement from the diocese Wednesday said, in Part, “The Diocese of La Crosse has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with Chippewa County and Chippewa Falls authorities. When the Diocese learned of the Chippewa Falls Police Department’s investigation of the matter, Father Richmond was immediately removed from all public ministry pending the law enforcement investigation, as well as a canonical review of the
allegations.”
He had passed four background checks in conjunction with the diocese’s Protect and Heal initiatives, the statement said.
McDonell Area Catholic Schools also issued a statement saying, “At all times, our top priority at MACS is the safety of the students. Each employee is subjected to comprehensive FBI background checks before beginning employment and Father Richmond passed a total of four background checks before and during his time at MACS. We hope and pray that justice will be done in this matter for all parties involved.”

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