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Investigator's report shows vast misbehavior from Lincoln priest assigned to UNL campus

Posted at 6:38 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 19:38:20-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The Diocese of Lincoln announced the results of an investigation into a priest stationed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, one that showed vast misbehavior from a priest entrusted to help college students with their Catholic faith.

Archbishop of Omaha George Lucas, who is currently the active bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, which includes much of southern Nebraska, says the diocese is remorseful, and committed to serving the people respectively and appropriately going forward.

Monsignor Leonard Kalin was Chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1970 to 1998.

The most damning portion of the report said that Kalin also made sexual advances towards college students and seminarians, which were not illegal, but very much against guidelines priests are required to follow, which include celibacy.

“It was disappointing to see that somebody who attempted to do a lot of good while chaplain at the Newman Center was also involved in some behavior that was really inappropriate,” says Lucas.

The report also found that Kalin on a regular basis drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes with the students and that he took trips to Iowa, Nevada and Texas, that often included drinking and gambling.

“I would say today we would approach the Newman Center work and work with seminarians in a very different way,” says Lucas.

Kalin was removed in 1998 and died in 2008.

While the private investigator’s report found that past leadership of the Lincoln Diocese knew about the late night partying, it was unaware of the sexual advances.

To try to ensure it doesn’t happen again, the diocese now has a Clergy Code of Conduct, as well as Ministerial Conduct Board, primarily made up of non priests, to consult with the bishop on legal, but inappropriate behavior by priests.

They also now have a number anyone can call to report misbehavior.

“Even though the incidents may have happened some years ago, the hurt can be lasting in the life of somebody that’s had that experience” says Lucas.

In the past, the church would often keep internal investigations quiet.

Archbishop Lucas says that’s now not the case, both the Diocese of Lincoln and the Archdiocese of Omaha will now be more forthcoming on priest misbehavior.

“Transparency is good but also to make sure were communicating clearly with our people and inviting them to have confidence in the way that the church is offering her ministry,” says Lucas.

The Nebraska Attorney General is currently investigating abuse allegations to all three of the dioceses in the state. Archbishop Lucas, nor really anybody knows, when that will be announced.

The Diocese of Lincoln is still investigating allegations of priests accused of a variety of misbehavior. Lucas says they’ll be sharing that in the coming months.

Until then, those priests have been removed from ministry.

Archbishop Lucas is filling in for Bishop James Conley, who is currently on medical leave.