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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

 

For immediate release:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SNAP presents new Green Bay bishop benchmarks for his “first 100 days”

5 simple actions by Ricken in three months, victims say, would chart new course for diocese adrift

First order of business is to explain predecessor’s involvement in trying to spring convicted Chicago priest from Winnebago County prison

WHAT

Leaders of the nation’s oldest and largest self help group of clergy sexual abuse survivors will hold a sidewalk news conference and deliver a letter to the newly appointed bishop of Green Bay outlining 5 simple and measurable anti-abuse goals they feel can be met during his “first 100 days as bishop” if child protection from predatory clergy is to be his “first priority and lasting legacy.” 

SNAP will also release previously secret church documents from the Chicago archdiocese which detail the involvement between Chicago and Green Bay church officials to exert backdoor influence and pressure on Wisconsin correction officials and the governor’s office to spring from prison one of Chicago’s most notorious pedophile priests, after he was sentenced to 20 years in 1995 for assaulting children in Winnebago County. 

WHERE

In front of headquarters of the Green Bay Catholic Diocese, 1919 Webster Avenue

WHEN

Tuesday, August 26, 1:30 p.m.

WHO

Green Bay and Wisconsin leaders of SNAP, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including the organization’s long time Midwest Director and National Chair Emeritus.   


WHY

Later this week David Ricken will be installed as the new Catholic bishop of Green Bay, Wisconsin.  

On the day of his appointment by the Vatican, Wisconsin officials of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) sent an email to Ricken announcing their intention to present him “5 benchmarks”—simple, measurable and urgent actions--they Ricken can take during his “first 100 days as bishop” to address the continuing clergy sex abuse problem in the Green Bay diocese. 

On Tuesday SNAP will hand deliver a public letter to Ricken from Green Bay survivors of clergy sexual molestation, outlining their five benchmarks.       

Ricken inherits a diocese which has been rocked this year by a series of continuing disclosures through the court ordered release of thousands of pages of previously secret church documents that several former Green Bay Catholic bishops and its current auxiliary bishop were and may still be directly involved in a decades long cover up of child sex crimes.   

And never before seen documents from the Chicago Archdiocese, show that Cardinal Francis George enlisted the aid of at least one Green Bay bishop to secretly intervene with Wisconsin correction officials and the Governor of Wisconsin in 2001 to obtain the release of Fr. Norbert Maday from a Wisconsin prison.  Maday, a Chicago priest, was sentenced in 1994 in Winnebago County to 20 years for bringing boys on separate occasions to a Catholic youth facility outside Oshkosh and sexually molesting them there. 

According to the Green Bay diocese, as of 2004, 51 clergy were determined by church authorities to have assaulted children over the past several decades, 18 of them Norbertine clerics, which makes the Green Bay diocese one of the highest concentrations of clerical offenders in the country. 

SNAP leaders have repeatedly called on the Green Bay diocese to release the records, identities and settlement locations of all 51 clergy, and any clergy identified since 2004 to have sexually assaulted or abused children.  Bishop David Zubik, during his brief tenure as bishop, repeatedly refused the group’s request.  The diocese also continues to house and hide in undisclosed locations an unknown number of clergy who have molested children. 

Documents were also released this year from the Norbertine religious order, headquartered in the diocese and under the supervision of the Green Bay bishop, detailing their policy of hiding and transferring known sex offenders. 

At least one Norbertine priest, James Smith, is currently under investigation by the Brown County District Attorney’s office. 

CONTACT
Alice Hodek, SNAP Green Bay Co-Director, 920.497.0795
Judith Schauer, SNAP Green Bay Co-Director, 920.469.2776
Mary Guentner, SNAP Wisconsin Co-Director, 414.418.3191
John Pilmaier, SNAP Milwaukee Co-Director, 414.336.8575
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


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