Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Archbishop Dolan on arrest of Brother David Nickerson

June 30, 2008

TO; Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of Milwaukee

FROM: Peter Isely,

RE Arrest of Brother David Nickerson

Archbishop Dolan:

Today, sadly, once again a Roman Catholic cleric, Brother David Nickerson, is facing criminal charges for sexually assaulting children in your archdiocese.

Nickerson is being prosecuted because of a provision in Wisconsin law which tolls the criminal statute of child sex abuse if an offender leaves the state before the statute has expired.

On Friday, in a landmark decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the tolling provision in the case of Fr. Bruce MacArthur, arrested for raping girls as a hospital chaplain in Beaver Damn.

Both MacArthur and Nickerson were arrested at the so-called “Wounded Brothers Project” church compound outside of St. Louis. Three clergy who have molested children in Wisconsin have escaped justice by going into hiding at the Wounded Brothers compound. Of course, the logical question is, how many fleeing fugitive clerics have been spirited away by Wisconsin church officials across state lines to compounds like the Wounded Brothers?

Nickerson is the sixteenth cleric prosecuted for child sex abuse under the state’s tolling provision. Six of these sex offender clerics committed child sex crimes within your archdiocese.

Every single prosecution has occurred without the direct reporting of the crime by church authorities. Instead, victims of these terrible offenses as children have had the complete burden of bringing these predators to justice without the urgency, initiative and aid of Wisconsin’s bishops.

To the contrary, as in the arrest of Fr. MacArthur and the conviction of Sr. Norma Giannini this year, you had direct criminal evidence of their guilt—both had confessed to church authorities about their crimes—but did not forward this criminal evidence to authorities.

Now that the Supreme Court has issued its unambiguous ruling concerning fleeing sex offenders, isn’t it time for you and your fellow bishops in Wisconsin to turn over immediately to law enforcement all information you have on the transfer of any clerical sex offenders?

There are potentially dozens of such transfers, especially from religious orders, and every single file of a clerical offender is criminal evidence in potentially live, current, and prosecutable cases.

Peter Isely
SNAP Midwest Director
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
[email protected]

Mary Guentner
SNAP Wisconsin Co-Director
[email protected]

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests