Archbishops Weakland and Cousins Names are Being Removed Today from Buildings of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Victims of clergy sexual abuse have demanded for years that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee remove the names of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland and William Cousins from church buildings. Both bishops have been demonstrably proven in over 10,000 pages of court ordered released priest abuse files to have orchestrated a decades long, systematic cover up of child sex crimes. Both bishops routinely and secretly transferred child sex offenders into new assignments where they continued to abuse children.
To remove the names of bishops who covered up child sex crimes now is not because victims have been demanding it but because Catholics and the public have brought pressure on the archdiocese to finally do it. As survivors, we are grateful to them. It brings a small measure of comfort and justice to the scores of victims and our families who were harmed by the actions of these bishops.
But the names that really matter today are not simply dead or retired bishops that have been thoroughly proven to have covered up for priest predators. Much more urgent and of direct concern to public safety are the names of those clergy known by the archdiocese to have abused children that the archdiocese continues to refuse to release to the public.
Among those names are over 100 offenders who were directly reported to the archdiocese during a painful and protracted bankruptcy process that was concluded several years ago. Those names include not only diocesan priests and deacons with allegations but dozens of religious order clergy who assaulted children in archdiocesan parishes and schools.
Currently, seventeen states and the US Department of Justice are now investigating abusive clergy and bishops who covered up for them across the United States. Victims and the public are urging Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to join them, and we are confident he will.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)