Religious Brother Charged with Sexual Assault of Child in Wisconsin, SNAP has concerns
(For Immediate Release December 5, 2022)
A religious brother from the Madison Catholic Diocese was charged with two felonies on Monday after having sexual contact with a 17-year-old he met at a DeForest church Bible study he led. According to a criminal complaint, Rajnal "Reggie" Rehmat, 31, was charged with sexual assault of a child by a person who works with or volunteers with children and child enticement for incidents that occurred between Sept. 5 and Oct. 1 of this year. Rehmat is a religious brother from Pakistan, of the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord, an international religious community.
Our hearts go out to the young victim in this matter, and we are grateful for her courage and strength in coming forward. We are also grateful to the DeForest Police Department for investigating this alleged crime and putting the wheels of justice into motion.
We now call on church officials to disclose how Brother Rehmat came to work in the U.S. for the Diocese of Madison. A statement by the diocese indicates that Rehmat arrived this year in June to work as a Religious Brother. Furthermore, church officials have an obligation to inform the community of Rehmat’s resume. It is also incumbent upon the Canons Regular of Jesus the Lord (CJD) administrators to announce the charges filed against one of their own and actively seek out possible victims from Rahmet’s other work assignments as a religious brother and while he was in vocations training. This outreach needs to be done both nationally and internationally. The order of CJD has a mission office In Modesto, CA., and internationally in Russia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.
The young age of newly identified abusers in religious life is a troubling trend in the church's history of clergy abuse. The alleged perpetrators are being investigated soon after their ordination or professed vows. According to our internal records, law enforcement in at least 30 states arrested or initiated criminal proceedings against living, and working clerics or staffers at a rate of two per month over the last two years. Despite church officials' claims that sexual abuse in the church is a thing of the past, this is clearly not the case. As far as we can tell, abuse by clergy or others in positions of authority is a very real and present danger.
Because of the reality of delayed disclosure in sex crime cases, other potential victims may take decades to come forward. We urge anyone with information about other clergy abuses to immediately report it to authorities. It is unusual for an abuser to have only one victim. Similarly, we hope that the brave survivor's example will encourage others who have been harmed in Wisconsin and elsewhere to come forward and seek help. Wisconsin's Attorney General's Office has a reporting hotline and an online form for anonymous tips. Call 877-222-2620 or use the online reporting tool at supportsurvivors.widoj.gov to file a report. Both options allow you to submit an anonymous tip.
(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 www.SNAPnetwork.org)