Press Release



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Thursday, February 10, 2005

Incriminating Documents Prove Milwaukee Archdiocese Tried To “Keep Lid” on Child Rape

Unique New Lawsuit To Be Filed Showing Archdiocesan Cover Up

For First Time Ever, Written Records of Secrecy & Deception Within Diocese are Revealed

Diocese Insists Police “Not to be Told” Of New Assaults By Priest

After Criminal Conviction, Priest Is Transferred & Molests More Kids

At a sidewalk news conference, 24 pages of incriminating, previously unpublished internal church documents will be released as part of a lawsuit being filed which charges local Catholic officials with fraud and covering up for a serial predator priest. Documents are posted on

Thursday, Feb 10, 11:00 A.M.

In front of the Cousins Center, headquarters of Milwaukee’s Catholic Archdiocese, 3501 S. Lake Drive

Several victims of clergy sexual abuse and a Minnesota attorney who is handling hundreds of such lawsuits across the country

Different than other cases filed by Wisconsin clergy abuse victims, for the first time, secret church records will be revealed that clearly show the Archbishop of Milwaukee and top archdiocesan officials intentionally defrauded Catholics as to the true nature of pedophile priests being assigned to parishes and schools.

This case centers on Fr. Siegfried Widera and his abuse of a boy from a devout family that attended St. Andrew’s parish in Delavan in the mid 1970’s. Widera, now deceased, was convicted and on probation for child sexual abuse before his transfer to St. Andrew’s. Still, Milwaukee church leaders moved Widera to this remote parish, failing to warn anyone of his criminal conduct. Widera assaulted another child while at St. Andrew’s and a top church official wrote of trying “to keep the lid on the thing, so no police record would be made” and “convince [the victim’s mother] not to go to the police…” Widera was then transferred to a parish in California where he continued to assault children.

Last year, the California Appeals Court, in a unanimous decision in favor of California plaintiffs abused as children by Widera, wrote that church leaders in Milwaukee were operating what amounted to a pedophile “lend-lease” program by intentionally placing a dangerous sex offender in their state.

Today’s lawsuit is being filed in Milwaukee County on behalf of a man now in his 30s. He will not be present at the event but other Widera victims will speak on his behalf.

Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, cell: 414-429-7259 (
Mary Guentner, Local Leader, SNAP Milwaukee, cell 414-418-3191
Jeff Anderson, St. Paul attorney, cell: 612-817-8665 (

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests