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Who’s Harder on Sexual Abuse—Catholic Church or South Dakota Republicans?

Speaking of paragons of public piety getting in trouble for sex crimes, the Rapid City Diocese continues to suspend priest Michel Mulloy from public ministry over one allegation of sexual abuse 40 years ago:

Mulloy, a 69-year-old from Mobridge, was Bishop-elect of Duluth when an allegation he sexually abused a minor in Faith, South Dakota in the early 1980s was brought to the church on Aug. 7, 2020. Mulloy was removed from public ministry on Aug. 24, 2020, and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the church opened investigations.

DCI’s investigation was placed on hold in February 2021 after it was determined the allegation was beyond the scope of the statute of limitations. The Journal reported at the time DCI would not share details of the investigation for that reason, but it was not officially closed in case new information came forward.

…DCI has not announced any developments in the case, and no charges were brought against Mulloy in Meade County, where the abuse was alleged [Shalom Bear Gee, “Rapid City Diocese Keeps Priest from Public Ministry,” Rapid City Journal, 2023.04.05].

Mulloy hasn’t been criminally charged, and he says a church tribunal in Omaha said he didn’t do what he is accused of doing:

I am hurt and saddened by the decision to deny me a public ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City. My heart is broken. The decision of the tribunal in Omaha was that I was not guilty of this alleged abuse. In church trials, a verdict of not guilty means that the accusation was not proven due to reasonable doubt. In an email after the decision was made, the Omaha judge said, ‘It is important not to read this as an inconclusive decision; he is not guilty of this crime and is presumed to be innocent of this crime.’

With this decision by the church officials in Omaha, I was hoping for a reconciliation that would allow me to return to some form of the public ministry that I have loved for 44 years, for and with the people of the diocese. However, I am bound by my vow of obedience to the bishop and I hope he will return me to public ministry in the future. Any further questions should be addressed to the Bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City [Rev. Michel Mulloy, quoted in Matt C. Abbott, “‘Not Guilty’ Priests Treated as Guilty,” Renew America, 2023.03.13].

But the Rapid City Diocese reads the tribunal’s decision as inconclusive and isn’t taking chances on Mulloy:

As required by canon law, a canonical proceeding to address the allegation was conducted by personnel who are not affiliated with the Diocese of Rapid City. That proceeding is now concluded, with a determination that it was not possible to ascertain with certainty either that the allegation was substantiated or that the allegation lacks foundation. Given the outcome of the canonical process, as well as the collective facts of this case that are now known, including consideration of the local Church, I have determined that Fr. Mulloy will remain out of public ministry.

In the Diocese of Rapid City, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the most vulnerable, and to accompany those on a journey of healing who have been harmed.

Anyone who has suffered sexual abuse should contact the local law enforcement agency or the Department of Family Services [Bishop Peter Muhich, statement regarding Fr. Michel Mulloy, Diocese of Rapid City, 2023.03.03].

Republican politico and child rapist Joel Koskan has been criminally charged over his years-long rape and sexual abuse of his adopted Indian daughter, yet the South Dakota Republican Party did not issue any formal renunciation of Koskan’s candidacy for Senate last fall and has yet to make any public statement that Koskan is not welcome in its public political activities.

So one could argue that the South Dakota Republican Party is softer on allegations of sex crimes than the Catholic Church is.


  1. larry kurtz 2023-04-06

    I blame Lee Schoenbeck. Paul Swain was a lawyer before he was called to the priesthood by the voices in his head and now he’s dead. Swain was appointed to the Sioux Falls, South Dakota diocese in 2006 by Joseph Ratzinger, a famous gay icon who also covered up clergy crimes. Swain was a member of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the architect of South Dakota’s statute of limitations that protects predators from being prosecuted for crimes against children and vulnerable adults in a state where catholic congregations and the legislature have engaged in obstruction of justice since before Ted Hustead opened Wall Drug in 1931.

  2. John 2023-04-06

    Why in the wide, wide world of sports would anyone trust men who parade around in red dresses with religious and moral interpretation? How Middle Ages.

  3. Mark Anderson 2023-04-06

    Why Cory, the Republican mantra is “grab them by the pussy”. That was from Jesus, Nelson Mandela or Trump. I forget.

  4. Joe 2023-04-06

    Father Mike. Remember him from my teen years in Rapid (we were members of the Cathedral parish). Sad!

  5. All Mammal 2023-04-06

    You can be a devil worshipper without knowing it. You don’t need a book to tell you not to put the toilet in the kitchen. You already know not to bun your sister without heavenly commands. If you do these things, you’re worshipping the devil, whether or not you know it’s wrong. Even though religion doesn’t say child abuse, rape and slavery are a no-no, we know it is wrong. It is devil worship when a guy wearing an onion hat stands in a pulpit, speaking in tongues and asking the lost and poor for their last dime, while diddling their children. If you’re into that, you worship evil. The devil’s greatest feat wasn’t convincing humanity he didn’t exist. It was convincing them they were worshipping God. We know what is right and wrong without perverted evil men telling us. The party is worshipping the devil, whether or not they believe it.

  6. larry kurtz 2023-04-06

    Anyone who believes Fred Deutsch wasn’t groomed by clergy and hasn’t groped a teen is delusional.

  7. O 2023-04-06

    Glad to meet you, Larry; I’m delusional.

    One of the most abhorent things our GOP friends do is the quick descent to name calling — specifically pedophile or groomer — to devolve any argument on policy into ad hominem mud slinging. I disagree with MANY things Fred Deutsch stands for; I find those stances morally repugnant; I may even question his “christian charity” for taking such stances; however, I do not think him a pedophile. I also believe that tossing such language around devalues its true impact.

  8. larry kurtz 2023-04-06

    Nobody gets to where Mr. Deutsch is without being radicalized through trauma and unable to separate his fantasies from pathology.

  9. Jenny 2023-04-06

    The Catholic Church really needs to start doing exorcisms on their own pedophiles. In MN, it’s been known for decades that there are priests that romp with prostitutes in the Cities and become infected with AIDS and other STDs. I work in the medical field, it’s a known fact.

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