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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims

For immediate release:
Sunday, October 19, 2008

In unusual move, clergy abuse victims group defends Madison bishop

In unusual move, clergy abuse victims group defends Madison bishop

Molester priest charges Morlino, SNAP in "twisted alliance

Publicaly attacks Morlino in new book

SNAP says public needs to see Fr. Gerald Vosen’s file


After a brief sidewalk remarks, Wisconsin leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including its long time Midwest Director, will attempt to hand deliver a letter to Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison urging a more forceful response to published attacks against him, the diocese, and sex abuse victims published over the weekend in a new book by priest sex offender, Fr. Gerald Vosen.

Headquarters of the Madison Catholic diocese, 702 South High Point Road, Madison

Monday, October 20th, 1:30 p.m. 702

I an unusual move, a national organization of clergy abuse victims is defending a Catholic bishop from public attacks by an abusive priest.

Over the weekend, in published accounts which are in direct violation of Catholic canon law and Vatican directives, Fr. Gerald Vosen is openly assailing his bishop, the diocese of Madison and clergy abuse victims and families in a new book (

Vosen, in the book, writes that he “believes” he has “never abused anyone.”

Vosen insists that all of his accusers are lying, a civil jury which ruled against him misguided, and a church lay review board that found him guilty collusive.  But Vosen saves his harshest criticism for Morlino, which he describes as “gleeful” to remove him from the priesthood and in a “twisted” alliance with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s oldest and largest clergy sexual abuse self-help group.

In fact, SNAP has been mostly critical of Morlino’s treatment of sex abuse victims, his secrecy concerning abusive priests, and his lobbying efforts with Wisconsin lawmakers to oppose sex abuse legislation and reform.

In 2003, Vosen was removed from ministry by Morlino, including any public presentation of himself as a priest.  Since that time, according to Morlino’s spokesman, two other victims and seven witnesses alleging abuse by Vosen have come forward to the diocese.

In 2005, in an unprecedented move, Vosen filed a civil defamation suit against—not his bishop—but one of his victims.  SNAP blasted Morleno at the time for refusing to defend Vosen’s victim and renounce the defamation suit.  After four days of testimony, a Janesville jury found against Vosen.

In 2007 a lay review board for the Madison diocese determined the allegations against Vosen to be credible.  Vosen has appealed his case to the Vatican.

Victims, along with defending Morlino, will be urging him in a letter Monday to release Vosen’s file to the public, assure victims and witnesses that they need not be intimidated by priests such as Vosen and to come forward to civil authorities concerning any suspected child abuse, and to reconsider his opposition to the Wisconsin Child Victims Act, legislation introduced last term which would reform the state’s child sex abuse statutes.

Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.78259
John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin, 414.336.8575
Mary Guentner, SNAP Wisconsin Co-Director, 414.418.3191

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is the nation’s oldest and largest self-help organization of clergy sex abuse survivors with over 8,000 members in 62 chapters (

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests