Retired La Crosse priest accused of sexual assault

Published: May. 18, 2019 at 10:54 PM CDT
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A retired La Crosse priest, who has a history of sexual misconduct, is once again in legal trouble. Monsignor Bernard McGarty faces charges of fourth degree sexual assault.

According to WKBT, the CBS affiliate in La Crosse, surveillance video from the La Crosse library supports the criminal complaint which alleges the 94-year-old offered a woman money for sex, tried to kiss her, and took her hand and put it on his genitals on May 11.

In a statement to WKBT, the Diocese of La Crosse says: "On May 16, 2019, the Diocese of La Crosse learned of a recent situation at the La Crosse Public Library involving Msgr. Bernard McGarty, 94, a retired priest of the Diocese of La Crosse. According to diocesan policy Msgr. McGarty, from this moment forward, is on a leave of absence from public ministry while this current situation is being investigated. Due to this being an ongoing investigation, the Diocese of La Crosse has no further comment at this time."

McGarty has been released on a signature bond.

In 2014, McGarty was cited in Wausau for disorderly conduct after exposing himself to a massage therapist in a salon.