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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

New Milwaukee Archbishop appears to have nation’s “worst record” on dealing with child sex abuse reports

Bishop Listecki’s diocese of La Crosse left higher percentage of priests accused of child abuse in ministry than anywhere in country

64 percent of accused priest left in ministry in La Crosse as opposed to under 10 percent nationwide

Listecki also wrote Eau Claire police chief in April he won’t change reporting policy to notify law enforcement

WHEN
Saturday, November 14, immediately after the 10:00 archdiocese press conference

WHERE
At the sign at the entrance of Saint Francis Seminary , 3257 S. Lake Drive, St. Francis

WHAT
Victims of clergy sex abuse will respond to the appointment this morning of Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse to run the Milwaukee archdiocese. The new appointment raises several “grave” concerns according to victims.

Of the 28 priests that the La Crosse diocese says, as of 2004, were alleged to have assaulted children, 18 were left in ministry. That number represents the highest “clearance rate” for priests accused of abuse in the United States.

According to the La Crosse Tribune, “ A 2004 study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found the church had cleared 64 percent of priests in the La Crosse diocese accused of sexual abuse. Nationwide, the clearance rate was about 10 percent, according to a report commissioned by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” (http://www.andersonadvocates.com/NewsListing.aspx?ID=191)

Equally alarming, the official policy of the diocese of La Crosse is to have child sex abuse by priests reported directly to the bishop not to civil authorities as urged to do so by law enforcement.

In April of 2009, Eau Clair police chief Jerry Matysik (pasted below) wrote Listecki to change the diocese abuse notification policy. Listecki refused to do so. According to Matysik in a letter to the Eau Claire Leader Telegram. “Until the diocese adopts a policy of public transparency, the loss of trust in the church will be hard to rebuild. Crimes involving the abuse of children are of the highest priority, and these matters must be handled promptly, professionally and in the light of day by public agencies designed to do so.”
--For abuse figures from the La Crosse diocese: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/usccb/natureandscope/dioceses/lacrossewi.htm
--SNAP January 2009 release on La Crosse “clearance rate” of abusive priests: http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_statements/2008_statements/062708_la_crosse_burke_tribunal_rome.htm

CONTACT
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259
Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Co-Director, 414. 915.4374


http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:YCx9fKJSxgAJ:www.leadertelegram.com/printstory2.asp%3Fid%3DBJHRAKCEJ0R+listecki+sexual+abuse&cd=69&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

4/2/09 LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM EAU CLAIR POLICE CHIEF TO EAU CLAIRE LEADER-TELEGRAM CONCERNING BISHOP LISTECKI

Updated: 4/2/2009

The Catholic Diocese of La Crosse regularly publishes the following notice in the The Catholic Times newspaper: "Anyone wishing to make a report of an allegation of sexual abuse should send that report to Bishop Jerome E. Listecki." I believe the wording of this public notice is misguided.

A similar notice published by the Diocese of Superior states, "Any current incidents of sexual abuse of a minor by anyone must be reported to civil authorities." This notice sends the correct message.

Members of the Diocese of La Crosse need to know that sexual abuse is a crime and should always be reported to police before notifying the organization where the crime occurred. Church leaders will be notified at the appropriate time by investigating authorities. I am not questioning Bishop Listecki's motives, and I believe he is well-intentioned. However, proper procedures shouldn't rely on our trust in this or any future bishop. I exchanged letters with the bishop about my concerns. He disagrees with my suggestion to change the notice.

This simple change would demonstrate that the diocese supports an impartial investigation and ensure that the church could not cover up the matter even if tempted to do so. One reason the Catholic Church has a sex abuse crisis is because it handled these matters internally without notifying civil authorities. Sadly, many church leaders were more interested in the reputation of the church than the welfare of victims.

Until the diocese adopts a policy of public transparency, the loss of trust in the church will be hard to rebuild. Crimes involving the abuse of children are of the highest priority, and these matters must be handled promptly, professionally and in the light of day by public agencies designed to do so.

JERRY MATYSIK

Chief, Eau Claire Police Department

Eau Claire


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


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