The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, February 23, 2009
Archbishop Dolans abysmal track record on clergy sex abuse and cover up
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, Milwaukee
Milwaukee archbishop Timothy Dolan has been named head of the New York archdiocese. Catholics and citizens deserve to know his track record on the most pressing issue the church faces.
Sadly the Vatican has consistently shown that a bishops mismanagement of clergy sex crimes against children has little or no bearing on career advancement.
When Dolan came to Milwaukee in 2002 from St. Louis he was widely praised as an antidote to Catholicisms penchant for dour and humorless prelates, a wizard of media relations, the embodiment of a new, ascendant and conquering retro-Catholicism.
But like so many other bishops who mismanage the abuse issue but still manage to get promoted, Dolan left St. Louis having failed to properly supervise sex offenders, remove them all from ministry, and fully notify civil authorities.
When Dolan got to Milwaukee, he boldly proclaimed that it is sledgehammer obvious that things cannot go on with business as usual in handling clergy sex abuse cases. Yet, for six years it has been pretty much exactly that in Milwaukee, just like in St. Louis.
Dolan did not forward to Wisconsin police direct admissions of guilt from clergy child rapists, even from clergy who were subsequently criminally charged and convicted. He continues to leave known clerical offenders working or presenting themselves as clergy in good standing in the Milwaukee archdiocese, a direct violation of the Dallas Charter. And for six years, secure at their chancery posts are virtually every single member of the senior management who plotted and executed the cover up of child sex abuse under Dolans disgraced predecessor, Rembert Weakland.
Why, for instance, does Dolan still publically praise without reprimand long term? Milwaukee auxiliary bishop, Richard Sklba? Sklba, according to sworn testimony this June by Weakland, was the chief architect of two decades of cover up for priest pedophiles. Weakland, in fact, called Sklba his go to guy on all abuse cases.
Also, according to Weakland, Dolan has not once talked with him about the 67 known clerical sex offenders in the Milwaukee archdiocese reported to church authorities by at least 480 victims. How can Dolan arrive in New York and claim he has effectively addressed clergy sex crimes in Milwaukee without once asking Weakland about abusive priests? Will Dolan even dare to have such a conversation with Cardinal Egan for fear of what he might learn?
As Dolan exits, the clergy sex abuse cover up crisis is not behind the Milwaukee church, but looms in front of it. Civil trials against the archdiocese are expected this summer in Milwaukee County for sex abuse fraud.
Victims greeted Dolan when he came to Milwaukee with great hope. He was replacing, after all, a bishop who resigned because he took a half a million dollars in church contributions for a hush money payoff to a seminarian who said he was date raped by him. The bar in New York may not be quite as low as it was in Milwaukee, but after years of stagnancy and pastoral malaise under Cardinal Egan, Dolan is likely to make a very good first impression.
But on matters of child protection Dolan is the Vaticans standard business as usual fare.
The vetting of bishops remains, unfortunately, a highly secretive and non-democratic process. How else could Pope Benedict, as we recently learned, spend years in high level negotiations and talks only to end up reinstating a bishop who publically denies the Holocaust?
As the rape of children by so many priests in the United States has conclusively demonstrates -- the number of predators over the past several decades is now within the range of six thousand -- something is wrong with the governing of the church, no matter who the governing bishop happens to be.
Dolan will bring some highly praised qualities to New York: political savvy, fundraising acumen, theological orthodoxy, and populist pastoral skills.
None of these qualities, however, guarantees a bishop will fervently embrace his most basic duty of protecting Gods children. For that, something else is needed, something on the order of true spiritual heroism. Maybe this is simply too much to ask of Dolan, or any other American bishop for that matter. But can parents of the New York archdiocese afford not to ask, indeed, demand it of Dolan?
The problem, ultimately, is not any one cardinal or bishopDolan or Weakland, Egan or Sklba, Mahony or Law -- but a system that moves around predator sheltering bishops as freely as it moves around its predators.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nations oldest and largest self-help organization of clergy sexual abuse survivors, founded in 1987 with over 8,000 members in 63 chapters (SNAPnetwork.org).
Archbishop Timothy Dolan Clergy Abuse Fact Sheet
Dolan record as Archbishop of Milwaukee, 2002-2009
Note: There are 67 clergy offenders from the Milwaukee archdiocese substantiated child sex assault reports, including 2 deacons and 20 religious order clergy.
In August of 2002, a bishop for less than a year in St. Louis, Dolan was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee, to replace the disgraced Rembert Weakland. Weakland had just been discovered to have paid a former Marquette University seminarian a half a million dollars in hush money for a sexual abuse allegation that Weakland characterized as a sexual relationship.
While in Milwaukee
Other informative documents from Milwaukee about the clergy abuse crisis and cover up --
-- Read a 2004 history of sexual abuse of children in the archdiocese of Milwaukee (http://terrenceberres.com/ise-sex.html).
Dolans record as Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, 2001-2002
Before his appointment to Milwaukee, Dolan was briefly auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, where he was put in charge of the abuse response for the archdiocese by Archbishop Justin Rigalli, who was subsequently promoted to cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia.
While in his St. Louis --
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests