St. Mary's church.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis released the name and assignment history Sept. 16 of deceased priest Father William Hough, who has a substantiated claim against him of sexually abusing a minor while he was a priest of the archdiocese.The alleged abuse occurred between 1964 and 1966. Father Hough died in 1994. He served at St. Mary in St. Paul - Read more here.
Why did this upset me?
Fr. Hough never abused me. Rather, as a retired priest and chaplain at a Catholic nursing home wherein I spent a lot of time visiting, he was available for confession. He was a very kind confessor and always available. I knew the stories about his past, but never questioned him about it, though I did mention I had friends who went to the school at the parish where he had been assigned. The allegations against him stem from that time. I left a message for a friend who originally told me about Fr. Hough's predilection, but I don't expect to hear back from him.
Strangely enough, in 2009 I wrote about Fr. Hough (without using his name) in a post about Fr. Flanagan. There was no connection between the two men. I think my intention was somehow connect to problems with clerical abuse in Ireland. I had this to say:
I got to know an Irish priest who came from the old country to Minnesota. As a young priest he happened to be the assistant at a downtown church and school some of my friends attended when we were young. The priest is dead now, but I think I mentioned him once as being the one who lifted up the boys with his hands on their crotch, to see how "big they were getting". Charming little leprechaun, he was. Years later he retired to become a chaplain in a home for the elderly which I visited. I came to find out we both knew an Irish nun from another care facility who had befriended me. Father asked if I would say hello and tell Sister he would like to come by for a visit.
Sister seemed slightly alarmed and asked, "How do you know him?"
I explained he was now a chaplain at a nursing home I visited, and although Sister's reaction suggested to me the priest's fondness for boys may have been known to her, she never said anything about him, and I never let on as to what I knew about him.
"Please tell him hello, but he need not visit." She told me rather solemnly.
I'm not sure why I thought it so important to tell my old friend. I kind of regret having done so now. It's none of my business, really.
The whole thing makes me sad. From the looks of things, Fr. Hough was transferred around. He may have either developed a reputation, or his interest in adolescent boys never abated. As an old priest, he seemed very faithful. He knew adults I knew, so I think it would be a mistake to call him a pedophile. Whenever I brought up his example in private conversation on the subject of sexual abuse of minors, it was always to make the point that he had a homosexual problem, and that it wasn't pedophilia, since the adolescent boys were sexually developed.
Interestingly enough, the boys I knew who were 'touched' by Hough grew up to be heterosexual. In other words, the sexual encounters didn't make them gay.