Viroqua priest accused of sexual assault at Chippewa Falls High School
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WKBT) — A Viroqua, Wis., priest is to appear in Chippewa County Circuit Court Thursday on allegations of first- and second-degree sexual assault on a child when he was a faculty member at a Chippewa Falls Catholic high school, according to a criminal complaint.
The Rev. Charles Richmond, 30, is to attend his initial appearance the charges Thursday in Chippewa County Circuit Court , according to the complaint, which was filed Monday.
The formal description of the alleged offense, a felony, is “Repeated Sexual Assault of Same Child (At Least 3 Violations of 1st or 2nd Degree Sexual Assault),”
Richmond, who was ordained in La Crosse in 2015, is a former faculty member of McDonell Area Catholic Schools in Chippewa Falls. He was serving at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua until Monday, when the La Crosse Diocese became aware of the case.
The criminal complaint says 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, according to a report in The Chippewa Herald.
She and Richmond were in “constant communication” on her social media apps, the Herald reported. “Father Richmond was very touchy, always having his hands on her to include touching her shoulder, her back, and her butt.” He also hugged her and asked her to sit on his lap, the Herald reported.
The Diocese of La Crosse issued a statement late Wednesday that said, in part:
“On Monday, June 15, criminal charges were filed against Father Charlie Richmond in Chippewa County. 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
“Father Richmond was ordained in 2015, and in conjunction with the Diocese’s Protect and Heal initiatives had background checks performed in 2007 and 2013, while in the seminary, and again in 2017 and 2019.”
McDonell Area Catholic Schools issued the following statement: “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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