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The first report of any issue came to the archdiocese in fall of 1970, when a report was made to the Chancery 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 Weakland of his decision to return to Milwaukee. The bishop of San Diego wrote Archbishop Weakland that Becker was relieved of his duties and believed Becker “has psychological problems he must solve.” Becker was denied work in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
In early 1980, parishioners reported an incident with a boy and Becker, himself, writes a letter that acknowledged his homosexual orientation to teenage boys. Becker was sent to a psychologist, but discontinued treatment after a short time. Members of the parish asked that Becker be allowed to stay at the parish. In assigning him to another parish, the vicar for clergy asked that Becker be given one more chance.
There was a report of Becker inappropriately touching a boy during a swimming session, a complaint that Becker was pursuing a teenage boy, and a report that Becker took a minor boy on a Caribbean cruise and they slept in the same bed. Once these reports were received, the vicar for clergy confronted Becker and ordered him to see a doctor for immediate therapy. Becker admitted to using bad judgment, but denied any physical contact with minors.
Several people wrote to the vicar on Becker’s behalf supporting him. But in 1983, there were also reports of Becker’s ongoing relationship with a boy and that he was seen coming out of his residence with the same boy he took on the cruise. Nonetheless, in 1983, a clinical psychologist advised the archdiocese that, regarding Becker, his diagnostic impression would be pedophilia. He noted that the possibility for sexual acting out with minor male children was high and that his reassignment should preclude involvement with youths. Parish ministry, they said, was out of the question. The archdiocese consulted with local law enforcement without using names and without providing background that would confirm what could have been criminal activity was advised that any such priest should not be assigned where he could come in contact with youngsters. Law enforcement advised the archdiocese to restrict Becker from ministry for five years and if no other complaints were received, then, perhaps, he could be given another chance.
In June, 1984, another doctor recommended to the archdiocese that Becker could serve as an associate pastor, under the proper conditions, but the archdiocese informed the doctor that parish ministry was not possible.
In July, 1990, a complaint was received about Becker’s insensitive pastoral care to her son at the hospital and alleged that Becker was calling her son. Becker’s term as hospital chaplain was renewed for an additional six years in September, 1990.
In the early 1990s, permission was given for parish “help-out” work and Becker was well received by parishioners who asked the Personnel Board to allow Becker to stay.
Becker was sent for additional evaluations in 1996. The reports issued stated that, in absence of intervention, it was likely that patterns of problematic sexual acting out by Becker would re-occur. Treatment in a long-term residential facility specializing in treatment of sexual disorders was recommended. Later that year a deacon, with professional law enforcement experience, was assigned to check on Becker on a regular basis. In addition, it was agreed that treatment that would counsel Becker out of the priesthood would be the best approach.
For the next several years Becker was allowed to help out at parishes on an as needed basis, but remained restricted from any ministry with regular contact with minors.
In early 2002, upon a review of files and the recommendation of the Eisenberg Commission, Becker was restricted from all public ministry, including weekend help out. A Church order was issued which stated Becker was to cease all public ministry, all pastoral counseling, could not hear confessions, could not contact any minors or vulnerable adults, and that he must avoid places that had been occasions of serious temptation in the area of sexual morality.
In May, 2002, Becker was arrested for the past sexual assault of a minor under a new provision in law in California. Those charges were dropped when the law was found to be unconstitutional. The existing prohibitions against Becker were made permanent and Becker was told he could never be allowed to exercise any public ministry again.
In November, 2004, responding to a petition by Archbishop Dolan, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed Becker from the clerical state. A payment to Becker from the archdiocese in the amount of $10,000 was provided to subsidize emergency medical insurance until Becker became eligible for Medicare. Notifications were made to the sheriff in the county where Becker was residing, and neighboring pastors were informed that he was living in the area and could no longer function as a priest.
This narrative is based on facts contained in documents related to this Diocesan priest offender.
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