Retired priest suspended from sex ed job after abuse allegations surface


A retired priest accused of abusing two teens decades ago who currently teaches sex education in Wright County is being let go from his teaching role.

Minnesota Public Radio found that 79-year-old Harry Walsh, formerly active in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was accused of sexual abuse in 1965 in Detroit and 1980 in South St. Paul. The Detroit case involving a 15-year-old girl resulted in a settlement payment to the victim from the Detroit Archdiocese about 30 years later.

MPR discovered despite the allegations, Walsh is currently employed by the Wright County Human Services Agency, where he's been providing sex education to troubled teens for the past 16 years.

On Monday, the Wright County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to suspend and cancel Walsh's contract effective Jan. 31, 2014, the Star Tribune reports.

Commissioner Charles Borrell told the newspaper that Monticello Public Schools took issue with Walsh working in the school district.

Walsh denies ever abusing any children.

"They were real sad to see this happen because they've had nothing but good results here in Wright County. They've never had one incident, so that's why I say, we made clear we're not casting any kind of guilt or anything on him at all," Borrell told MPR.

Walsh was not on a recently disclosed secret Archdiocese list of priests believed to have been “credibly accused” of abuse. The Star Tribune reports the list was compiled in 2004. Any priest credibly accused of child sexual abuse since then will need to be added to the list by Jan. 6 per the orders of a Ramsey County judge.

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