CHICAGO (CBS) — The Diocese of Fort-Wayne-South Bend has published a list of priests and deacons who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, including three who once served in Northwest Indiana.
The three priests served in Northwest Indiana decades ago, and it is unclear whether the abuse happened during that time. The diocese did not include any details of the allegations, only the number of credible incidents. In a response to an emailed question, a spokeswoman said the diocese was not releasing any information about the abuse allegations “for the protection of the victims involved.”
Two of the three are deceased, and the allegations against them emerged after their deaths. The third, Michael Buescher, lost his clerical status in 1991.
Buescher was ordained in 1979 and was the coordinator of priests who offered Mass at Culver Military Academy in Culver, Ind. The diocese found six credible allegations against him.
William Gieranowski served at St. Stanislaus Parish in East Chicago from 1949-1951 and later served at St. Thomas More Parish in Munster from 1951-1955. The diocese found three credible allegations against him. He was ordained in 1949 and died on April 24, 2000.
William Ehrman served at the St Mary the Immaculate Conception Parish in Michigan City from 1926-1929. He was chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital and the Indiana State Prison. The diocese found eight credible allegations against him. Ehrman was ordained in 1922, retired in 1970 and died on Aug. 7, 1983.
The list of abusive priests was developed with the help of a Diocesan Review Board. The board certified an allegation as credible when “available information, appears more likely true than not,” according to a diocesan news release.
Fort Wayne South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades said in a statement: “It is my hope that by releasing these names, the innocent victims of these horrific and heartbreaking crimes can finally begin the process of healing.”