WI--Vatican rules against Madison predator priest

For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 28, 2015

For more information: Peter Isely of Milwaukee, 414 429 7259, [email protected], David Clohessy of St. Louis, 314 566 9790 cell, [email protected], [email protected]

Vatican rules against predator priest

Child molesting cleric worked in nine WI towns

He once unsuccessfully sued one of his victims

SNAP: “Madison bishop must warn others about him

A Vatican panel has upheld penalties against a suspended serial predator priest who worked in nine Wisconsin towns. Now a support group for clergy sex abuse victims wants Madison’s Catholic bishop to warn the public of his whereabouts and “aggressively reach out to anyone else he may have hurt.

Last month, a public relations staffer for Bishop Rorbert Morlino wrote in the diocesan newspaper that the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome “confirmed the finding” of lower church panels that Fr. Gerald Vosen “is guilty of two offenses (of sexual misconduct) with minors under the age of 16.”

“Vatican officials have apparently chosen to not defrock this repeat sex offender, so he’s still apparently getting money from Morlino’s diocese,” said Peter Isely, Midwest Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “So for the safety of kids, Morlino should disclose where Fr. Vosen is now. He should insist that Fr. Vosen live in a remote, secure, professionally-run treatment facility. And Morlino should personally visit each place where Fr. Vosen worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police so this dangerous abuser might be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. That’s what a caring shepherd would do. That’s what best protects kids.”

“It’s not enough for church officials to say ‘he’s too dangerous. We’ll take his collar and his parish. But that’s all we’re gonna to do,’” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “Fr. Vosen belongs in jail. Morlino could and should help put him there, by using pulpit announcements, parish bulletins and church websites to prod others with information or suspicions about his crimes to call police.”

At one point, Fr. Vosen sued one of his accusers for slander. He lost.

Fr. Vosen worked in churches in Paoli, Verona, Avoca, Clyde, Madison, Cottage Grove, Reedsburg, Janesville and Baraboo, all in Wisconsin. http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Vosen_Gerald_P.htm

In the mid-1960s, at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Madison, Fr. Vosen worked with Fr. Lawrence M. Trainor who was also later accused of sexual abuse.


At least ten Madison diocesan priests have been publicly accused of child sexual abuse, according to BishopAccountability.org. SNAP believes the real figure is dramatically higher. They are Fr. Archie H. Adams, Fr. Curtiss Alvarez, Fr. Peter Claver Arnoue, Fr. J. (Joseph) Gibbs Clauder, Fr. Robert DeCock, Fr. Jude Clarence Francis Hahn, Fr. Kenneth Klubertanz, Fr. Lawrence M. Trainor and Fr. Michael Trainor. 

Here’s a copy of the news release sent out by Bishop Morlino’s public relations team:

Appellate tribunal confirms guilty verdict of Fr. Gerald Vosen

Written by by Brent King, Director of Communications, Diocese of Madison - Jul. 16, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

MADISON -- Diocese of Madison officials were recently notified by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome, of the publication of the findings of the appellate tribunal court’s hearing of the appeal of Fr. Gerald Vosen, who was placed on administrative leave in 2004 and formally suspended since 2008.

With this release, we inform the faithful of the diocese and the general public of the appellate tribunal’s conclusions.

The appellate tribunal has confirmed the finding of the first-instance tribunal (Diocese of Madison’s — 2007) that Fr. Gerald Vosen is guilty of two offenses against the sixth commandment (sexual misconduct), with minors under the age of 16.

Likewise, the appellate tribunal confirmedthe penalty issued by the first-instance tribunal, namely, Father Vosen’s permanent removal from all ecclesiastical ministry with the admonition to lead a life of prayer and penance. No further right to appeal exists.

The confirmation of this penalty means that Father Vosen is not to exercise any public ministry, whatsoever, nor is he to present himself publically as a minister of the Church, including by wearing clerical dress.


• Accusations of sexual misconduct against Father Vosen were brought to the diocese’s attention in 2003. He was immediately placed on temporary leave, pending an investigation and possible trial.

• In February of 2004, the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board found at least one accusation credible, and the matter was referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which instructed the local tribunal to proceed with a trial. Father Vosen was placed on formal administrative leave, as a matter of policy, while the case was being adjudicated by a local Church tribunal.

• In August of 2007, the local Church tribunal judged that Father Vosen was guilty of two offenses against the sixth commandment and sentenced him to permanent removal from all ecclesiastical ministry. Father Vosen appealed this decision, as was his right.

• In 2008, Father Vosen published a book named, Pick a Number: Stories of Faith. In the book, Father Vosen made explicit mention of what occurred during the previous penal trial, knowingly violating the legal proceedings’ protocols, which exist to protect the privacy and reputations of all involved — the accused, as well as witnesses. Father Vosen was formally suspended, and all his priestly faculties were removed.

Father Vosen’s case is officially concluded, with no further right to appeal. He can never again act publically as a priest or obtain any faculties for such ministry.

As always, any allegation of sexual misconduct should be brought to the attention of law enforcement officials. If allegations involve priests, deacons, or other Church personnel, regardless of when they are said to have occurred, they should also be reported to the Diocese of Madison, by way of the Sexual Misconduct Question and Reporting Line, 608-821-3162. The diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse allegations, and instructions for making a report of sexual misconduct, are available on the diocesan website: www.madisondiocese.org

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