Diocese of La Crosse Priest Abruptly Resigns With Admission
(For Immediate Release October 24, 2022)
“After many years of neglect, I am being called to face the wrong I caused someone by behavior inappropriate for a priest,” Pierce said. “Facing up to what I have done now requires that I resign as your pastor.”
To us, Pierce’s resignation achieves virtually nothing. It's incumbent on La Crosse Diocese Bishop William Patrick Callahan to quickly announce whether Pierce’s admission constitutes a credible allegation. Was this victim a child or an adult? And after that, we insist Callahan use pulpit announcements, parish bulletins, and church websites to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes or neglect by Msgr Pierce while in the eastside parishes, previous work assignments, and seminary life. It is rare to see one allegation cited with such a quick resignation.
“After many years of neglect?” Pierce is not old in years and consciences are a lifetime. We can’t help but wonder if church officials ignored the allegations against Pierce and we hope any and all information is turned over to law enforcement. In Wisconsin, victims of child sexual assault older than 45 can’t bring criminal charges forward, and for civil cases, the ability to sue ends at age 35. For a priest who loved his weekly ‘blah, blah, blah' letter to parishioners, Pierce and church officials are silent about this disturbing news. Every parent, every parishioner, past and present, who had contact with Msgr. Pierce should be alerted.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)