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Retired La Crosse priest faces sexual assault charge

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – A retired priest in the Diocese of La Crosse faces a sexual assault charge after an incident outside the La Crosse Public Library.

Monsignor Bernard McGarty, 94, didn’t appear in court Monday for his hearing. His attorney entered a not guilty plea to the 4th Degree Sexual Assault charge on his behalf.

In the criminal complaint, the victim in the case told investigators that McGarty approached her as she sat on a bench outside the main branch of the library on May 11. Video cameras at the library captured what happened according to the complaint.

She said she told him she was homeless. He then handed her twenty dollars.

The complaint said that McGarty at one point, after he asked to see some of her tattoos, he took her arm and placed it in his lap with clear sexual intentions.

McGarty is currently free on a signature bond.

Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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