Priests accused of abuse had ties with Foreston

Two Catholic priests with ties to a church in Foreston were among a list of 33 priests in the St. Cloud diocese accused of sexual abuse.

The list became public on Friday, Jan. 3, days after Robert Ethen, of Sartell, filed suit seeking the release of the names. Ethen alleges that he was abused by a Catholic priest while attending St. Anthony Catholic School in St. Cloud.

The priests with connections to St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church in Foreston are Peter Snyers and Francis Zilkowski. Both priests are deceased.

Snyers served at St. Louis from June 1965 until July 1968, according to his obituary at Prior to coming to Foreston, he served as pastor at St. Kathryn’s Church, Ogilvie, from June 1958 to June 1965. He died on Jan. 19, 2012. He served at five other parishes in the St. Cloud Diocese before retiring in July 2001.

Snyers was also chaplain for the Boy Scouts of America, his obituary states.

Francis Zilkowski was a former chancellor for the Diocese of Saint Cloud who went on to serve at St. Louis in Foreston. He served at three other churches within the diocese, including a very long tenure at Our Lady of Lourdes, Little Falls.

In releasing the names, Archbishop Donald Ketter stated in a prepared statement: “It is my hope that the release of these names will provide validation to those victims who have been sexually abused and have already come forward. I pray it will also give strength to those who have remained silent and allow them to come forward.”

Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented Ethen and has led the fight for the release of hundreds of priests’ names across Minnesota who are accused of abuse, stated in a prepared statement, “Releasing the names of these priests is a step in the right direction for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

“We applaud all clergy sex abuse survivors for their courage, including Robert Ethen, who filed suit seeking the release of these names just this week. Today’s release will help all survivors who now know they are not alone and can come forward and get help,” Anderson said.