Chippewa County (WQOW) - A Catholic priest who has former ties to Chippewa County has been charged with sexual assault.
Father Charles Richmond, 30, has been charged with repeated sexual assault of the same child in Chippewa County Court.
Court records show that means he is accused of 1st or 2nd degree sexual assault on at least three different occasions.
Up until charges were filed, Richmond was the priest at Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua.
Prior to that, Richmond was an associate pastor in Chippewa Falls at St. Charles Borromeo and in Tilden at St. Peter's.
During his time in Chippewa Falls, Richmond was the chaplain at McDonell High School and Notre Dame Middle School.
In a statement to News 18, the Diocese of La Crosse says Fr. Richmond was immediately removed from all public ministry while the investigation is ongoing.
Richmond was ordained a priest in 2015. Prior to that he trained at St. Paul's Parish in Bloomer.
According to the Diocese of La Crosse, Richmond had background checks performed in 2007 and 2013 while he was in the seminary and in 2017 and 2019 while in active ministry.
McDonell Area Catholic Schools tell News 18 Richmond passed four background checks before and during his time in the school system.
"At all times, our top priority at MACS is the safety of the students. Each employee is subjected to comprehensive FBI background checks before beginning employment and Fr. Richmond passed a total of four background checks before and during his time at MACS.
We hope and pray that justice will be done in this matter for all parties involved."McDonell Area Catholic Schools