Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 2008 Information on Clergy Sexual Abuse

A reader points out the following.

On January 28, 2008, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee published information related to the issue of clergy sexual abuse. This information includes:

- Archbishop Dolan's Letter to the Catholic Community

- An Overview of Siegfried Widera, Bruce MacArthur, Franklyn Becker

- A Summary of Franklyn Becker Documents

- Questions and Answers

- How to report sexual abuse

- An update on pending Wisconsin legislation, including Archbishop Dolan's testimony to a Wisconsin State Senate committee

In his letter, our Archbishop writes,
Some of you might ask, "Why are you telling us this; why can’t you just let this be over and move on?" Believe me, part of me would like nothing more, but, I know that the effects of this crisis will never be over. Practically, too, I know that you are better hearing this news from me, all at once.

Not me; I instead ask why these claims weren't resolved ASAP after you arrived here. We're not hearing this bad news "all at once". We're hearing it day after day, month after month, year after year. Must it next be decade after decade?


  1. Holy Moly, I 100% agree with you. Why wasn't this taken care of 5 years ago? Or why didn't he then bring it to our attention that this would be coming up? We only hear about it when the Archdiocese is forced to make certain documents public. This sounds like the talk of a lawyer, not a religious figure!

  2. "Why wasn't this taken care of 5 years ago?"

    Maybe he could make the case, so to speak, for the approach he's chosen, but he hasn't so far.

  3. suburban mom8:23 PM

    Terry, et al come on ... Dolan couldn't have addressed this upon his arrival, these cases were filed AFTER California opened a window AFTER Dolan came to town. He has been warning us that this was coming ... these are the cases that could have led to bankruptcy back in '06. Work a little harder to get your facts straight before you spout off.

  4. You seem to say that he couldn't act unless there were adverse developments in the courts or legislature. That's not so.

    Regarding one case, our Archbishop now writes,
    "Although there could be various explanations for all the decisions that were made or not made, at the end of the day, you will see, I have to admit, these decisions are a particularly ugly example of how the Church made some dreadful mistakes in its handling of these cases. The reports about this ex-priest are very troubling."
    The underlying facts of this case were the same in 2002 as they are now. The same is true of the underlying facts of the other cases.

    He could have dealt with any and all claims of abuse, whether or not the claimant could plausibly threaten suit, whether or not there a claim was in suit, whether or not a lawsuit was here or elsewhere, and whether or not it was believed a claimant would prevail in a lawsuit.

  5. Anonymous4:19 PM

    These claims were made after he was here; sure they knew about the naughty priests, but how do you expect Dolan to deal with a case that hadn't been reported?

    Nice effort at complicating the matter with your legalese.

  6. As our Archdiocese explains, the California cases were brought under a 2002 law granting a one-year "window" to bring claims that otherwise were barred by the statute of limitations. The California appellate court ruling permitting the cases against our Archdiocese to continue came in October 2003. The cases were not settled until September 2006, two months before scheduled to go to trial.

    You seem to be saying our Archdiocese couldn't do anything before it was sued...and couldn't do anything after.