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Priest faces sex assault charge in Wisconsin

Catholic World News - February 04, 2010

A priest from Ghana who served at a parish in a Wisconsin diocese has been charged with fourth-degree sexual assault. A 47-year-old woman alleges that Father Edmund Donkor-Baine assaulted her in August while he was offering her divorce counseling. The priest denies the charges.

Father Donkor-Baine comes from the Archdiocese of Accra (Ghana), and not from Guyana, as the La Crosse Tribune is reporting. The Tribune reports that Father Donkor-Baine came to the United States for medical treatment, and diocesan attorney Jim Birnbaum said that “he’s not here on any formal program where he could be assigned to a parish.” Yet according to a 2008 parish bulletin, “Fr. Edmund [Donkor-Baine] had been assigned to assist here at Blessed Sacrament as well as to work at Franciscan Skemp in the Pastoral Care office. This week Bishop Listecki assigned Fr. Edmund to residence in the Diocesan Center pending further assignment.” He has since offered Masses at Viterbo College and filled in at another parish.

The woman reported her assault to Msgr. Richard Gilles, now the diocese’s administrator. “Sufficient evidence did not exist to confirm the woman’s story,” Birnbaum said. “There were no other like or similar allegations ever made.”

The woman, however, claims that Msgr. Gilles “called her a credible witness, apologized for Donkor-Baine’s behavior and said he needed to notify former La Crosse Bishop Jerome Listecki,” according to the Tribune. Birnbaum disputed her statements.

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