Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers relating to the list of Restricted Diocesan Priests due to Substantiated Reports of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

How can I report an incident of clergy sexual abuse?

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, it is important that you come forward so you can receive assistance.

The Church bears a responsibility to help the victims and survivors of sexual abuse and ensure that offenders face justice. Sexual abuse is always wrong and not the fault of the individual who has been abused.

Reports can be made to the Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Services Office at (414) 769-3436.

These agencies in the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee offer free services to victims/survivors of sexual abuse.

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Why wait to list the names until now?

In June 2002, the archdiocese stated its intention to provide a public listing of all priests restricted from ministry in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Archbishop Dolan consulted with the community advisory board, priests’ council, public officials, and other key advisors – and after a great deal of reflection and prayer – he authorized the listing of the names of priests who have been restricted from all priestly ministry in accordance with the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

In January 2004, we made the commitment to provide the names of all living priests in this category to the appropriate civil authorities, and we have done so.

The public listing was done on July 9, 2004.

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What does "fully restricted from all priestly ministry" mean?

Priests who are fully restricted from ministry are prohibited from:

  • All priestly ministry,
  • Publicly celebrating the sacraments, and
  • Presenting themselves as priests in any way.
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Why publicize these names at all?

There are four reasons:

  1. Protecting children is our primary concern and obligation.
  2. By releasing this information, the Church of southeastern Wisconsin reaffirms its commitment to seeking, reaching out to, and encouraging any victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse of minors who have yet to come forward to do so knowing that they will be believed.
  3. We want to affirm the faithful, holy, and wholesome service of the vast majority of priests who serve Catholics and their communities in southeastern Wisconsin.
  4. We again demonstrate the promise of the Church in southeastern Wisconsin to be open and candid. To obtain forgiveness and rebuild trust, our commitment is to remain open, accountable, and vigilant.
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Can the living priests on this list ever return to ministry?

They are barred from functioning as priests. The Holy Father and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted by the U.S. Bishops in June 2002, made it very clear that anyone who would harm a child is permanently barred from priesthood.

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Why do the number of men on this list differ from the numbers previously published by the archdiocese?

During the past two years, the archdiocese has tried to provide the most accurate and complete information it had at the time. As presented today, this list is as accurate and complete as we can make it.

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Where is there listing of priests of religious orders?

Priests who are members of religious orders are under the supervision and authority of the religious order. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been in contact with the superiors of each religious order to encourage them to provide the same information about priests in their order. When they do, the archdiocese will add those names to our listing. However, the superiors of religious orders make the ultimate decision to provide this information. We have urged them to be forthcoming. When they do so, it will enhance the credibility of our efforts.

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What information has been publicized?

The information posted on the archdiocesan Web site includes the name of the priest and his current status.

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Will the Church tell us where these men are living?

Publicly providing the names of these men is as far as we are prepared to go. It is appropriate and something that resulted from wide consultation. Law enforcement officials have been aware of these names for months, and we have provided any information we have to these officials.

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Will the Church provide details about specific reports?

We leave it to individual victims/survivors as to whether they would like to make their own experience public. Psychologists, victim advocates and victims/survivors themselves have told us that releasing details of individual reports could further harm victims by revealing their identity or revisiting horrific memories.

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How are you helping victims/survivors?

All victims/survivors are encouraged to come forward and make a report, knowing they will be believed. Immediately and without question, an individual victim/survivor making a report is eligible for therapy and counseling at archdiocesan expense. A dialog also begins with the victim/survivor as to what else can be done to help the victim/survivor heal and move forward.

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Why were some priests able to work in so many different parishes?

In the majority of cases, reports of a priest committing acts of sexual abuse of a minor were received by the archdiocese long after the abuse had occurred. In the meantime, these priests moved from parish to parish in the normal course of pastoral assignments. It is only in recent years that the abuse has been reported. Since June 2002, when the Charter was adopted, any known offender still in ministry was removed and barred from functioning as a priest.

Child sexual abuse has always been a crime. Today, the only place for any priest who would sexually abuse a child is outside the ministry, obligating the Church to tend to the victims/survivors.

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Victim Assistance Coordinator

Shirley Zakszewski

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee

3501 South Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
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Phone:  (414) 769-3300
Toll-Free: (800) 769-9373
Fax:  (414)  769-3408

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