Although the archdiocese had earlier been sued in one case in California for the actions of Franklyn Becker, that case was resolved, along with the nine California lawsuits involving Siegfried Widera.
The judge in the California case has now ordered that Franklyn Becker's records be turned over to the California plaintiff’s attorney. In addition, as the current Wisconsin lawsuits go forward, Becker’s records have already been demanded and will be processed and delivered to additional plaintiffs’ lawyers. The following is a summary of the more than 800 pages of documents related to Franklyn Becker.
The first report of any issue came to the archdiocese in fall of 1970, when a telephone report was made about a problem between a parishioner’s son and Becker. There is no follow up on record.
In 1977, Archbishop Cousins released Becker to work outside the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Becker worked in the Diocese of San Diego, but in 1978, Becker advised Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland of his decision to return to Milwaukee. The bishop of San Diego wrote Archbishop Weakland that Becker was relieved of his duties and believes Becker “has psychological problems he must solve.”
In early 1980, parishioners report an incident with a boy and Becker, himself, writes a letter that acknowledges his homosexual orientation to teenage boys. Becker is sent to a psychologist, but discontinues treatment after a short time. Members of the parish ask that Becker be allowed to stay at parish. In assigning him to another parish, the vicar for clergy asks that Becker be given one more chance.
Other incidents follow. There is a report of Becker inappropriately touching a boy during a swimming session, a complaint that Becker is pursuing a teenage boy, and a report that Becker took a minor boy on a Caribbean cruise. Once these reports are received, the vicar for clergy confronts Becker and orders him to see a doctor for immediate therapy. Becker admits to using bad judgment, but denies any physical contact with minors.
Meanwhile, several people write to the vicar on Becker’s behalf, including the mother of the boy who went on the cruise. Nonetheless, in 1983 a clinical psychologist advises the archdiocese that, regarding Becker, his diagnostic impression would be pedophilia. He notes the possibility for sexual acting out with minor male children is high and that his reassignment should preclude involvement with youths. Parish ministry, they say, is out of the question. The archdiocese consults with local law enforcement without using names and is advised that any such priest should not be assigned where he could come in contact with youngsters. Law enforcement advises archdiocese to restrict him from ministry for five years and if no other complaints are received, then, perhaps, give him another chance.
In June 1984, another doctor recommends to the archdiocese that Becker could serve as associate pastor, under the proper conditions, but the archdiocese informs doctor that parish ministry is not possible.
In July 1990, a complaint was received about Becker’s insensitive pastoral care to her son (at hospital) and alleges Becker is calling her son. However, Becker’s term as hospital chaplain is renewed for an additional six years in September 1990.
In the early 1990s, permission is given for parish “help out” work and Becker is well received by parishioners who ask the Personnel Board to allow Becker to stay.
Becker was sent for additional evaluations in 1996. The reports issued state that, in absence of intervention, it is likely that patterns of problematic sexual acting out by Becker will re-occur. Treatment should be considered in a long-term residential facility specializing in treatment of sexual disorders. Later that year a deacon, with professional law enforcement experience, is assigned to check on Becker on regular basis. In addition, it is agreed that treatment that would counsel Becker out of the priesthood would be the best approach.
This continues for the next several years. Becker is allowed to help out at parishes on an as needed basis, but remains restricted from any ministry with regular contact with minors.
In early 2002, after the publicity regarding the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, and, upon the recommendation of the Eisenberg Commission, Becker is restricted from all public ministry, including weekend help out. A Church order is issued which states Becker is to cease all public ministry, all pastoral counseling, may not hear confessions, must not contact any minors or vulnerable adults, to avoid places that have been occasions of serious temptation in the area of sexual morality.
In May 2002, Becker is arrested for the past sexual assault of a minor. The existing prohibitions against Becker are made permanent and Becker is told he will not be allowed to do any public ministry ever again.
In November 2004, responding to a petition by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the Holy See removes Becker from the clerical state. A payment of $10,000 is provided to subsidize emergency medical insurance until Becker is eligible for Medicare. Notifications are made to the Sheriff in the county where Becker was last known to be residing, and neighboring parishes are also informed that he is living in area and can no longer function as a priest.