Statement Regarding Kenneth LaVan

From Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens

In February 2014, we disclosed that there were substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor against Kenneth LaVan. Then in March, 2014, we publicly released the following additional information, which was reported in the media at the time:

(T)he archdiocese received reports in 1988 that he had abused two girls between 1958 and 1970. In 1989 and 1992, the archdiocese settled civil suits brought by the two victims. The archdiocese removed LaVan from ministry in early 1989 and required him to undergo treatment. After completion of treatment he was returned to parish ministry at St. Joseph in Lino Lakes with monitoring. LaVan retired in January 1998, but continued to provide limited assistance at St. Olaf in Minneapolis (and other parishes as requested) until December 2013. LaVan has also been accused of inappropriate sexual relationships with adult women.

Under today’s standards and protocols, if we were to receive similar allegations regarding a priest, police would immediately be notified.

In addition, we have changed the way we use psychological treatment for priests. We consider it a way to get an understanding of their mental health. A priest who has sexually abused a child may indeed receive treatment, but would not be considered again for ministry, no matter what progress he might make in treatment.

I apologize for the harm caused by some of our priests, and ask for forgiveness from sexual abuse victim/survivors, their families and their friends.