Ex-priest dropped as sex education teacher

Harry Walsh
After serving as a priest at several parishes across the Midwest, Harry Walsh retired as a music minister in Monticello, Minn., two years ago and currently teaches sex education in Wright County, Minn. He spoke with MPR in his home in Monticello on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
Jeffrey Thompson/MPR News

The Wright County board of commissioners Tuesday canceled a long-term contract with a former priest who provided sex education services for the county's public health division.

Harry Walsh is a former priest who was accused of sexually abusing two minors decades ago. The accusations came to light as part of Minnesota Public Radio's ongoing investigation into the church's response to clergy misconduct.

• Previously: Abuse claims were kept secret
• MPR News investigation: Archdiocese under scrutiny

Wright County officials say they dropped Walsh's contract because officials in the Monticello school district lost confidence in him.

"They didn't want to work with him anymore," said Charlie Borell, one of the Wright County commissioners who voted to end Walsh's contract. "And it kind of makes it real difficult to do the job after that."

"He's had a real long term relationship with us," Borell said. "They were real sad to see this happen because they've had nothing but good results here in Wright County. They've never had one incident, so that's why I say, we made clear we're not casting any kind of guilt or anything on him at all."

Walsh told MPR that the accusations against him weren't credible, although records show the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis did contribute to a financial settlement for one of the children.