45 Priests in the archdiocese of Milwaukee sexually abused children. And the church knew. And did nothing.
There are 334 priests assigned to the archdiocese of Milwaukee today. 182 of those are active and 152 are retired. The 45 priests identified below were active in the ministry while abusing children. That means, in today's numbers, as many as 25% of priests are likely pedophiles. 1 in 4!!!!
List of Pedophiles
You may recall that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles released over 12,000 pages of documents pertaining to its cover-up of child sexual abuse Tree Climbers: Archdiocese of LA Released 12,000 Pages Related to Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse where 122 priests were revealed as pedophiles.
Pedophilia is a combination of access and opportunity. Joining the priesthood is one way to ensure both with a cloak of reverance added. No one would question a priest...
Statistics show that pedophiles, over the course of a lifetime, unchecked will abuse hundreds of children. These men were unchecked for decades.
You may recall that I wrote a piece on Lawrence Murphy who sexually abused over 200 boys at a school for the deaf: Tree Climbers: Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Extrapolated, at the high end there could be at a minimum 244 victims to thousands of victims in this one archdiocese. Currently, there are 570 claims of childhood sexual abuse against the archdiocese (currently in bankruptcy)
Of the 45 priests, 1/2 are decased, but there are 22 (15 of whom have been "officially" defrocked) pedohpiles still walking around today.
What we do today in responding to reports of abuse is different than in decades past but that fact does not erase the past. The documents present one part of the history of what happened and demonstrate how people tried to do their best with what they knew at the time. We may never have the complete picture because the records are not always clear and there is no way to delve more deeply because many of the people involved are dead or have had memories fade as 20, 30 or 40 years or more have passed.But the excuses continue...which leads me to believe that not much has or will change...
But, we know that bad things happened to innocent children and youth. The arc of understanding sexual abuse of a minor progressed from being seen as a moral failing and sin that needed personal resolve and spiritual direction; to a psychological deficiency that required therapy and could be cured; to issues of addiction requiring more extensive therapy and restrictions on ministry; to recognition of the long-term effects of abuse and the need to hold the perpetrator accountable for this criminal activity.
I’ve heard people say, what was so difficult? A child was abused; the priest should be put in jail. That sentiment probably best reflects the change in societal thinking over the decades and these documents show the progression and evolution of thinking on this topic. In the documents are examples of parents wanting the bishop to know about Father’s behavior, but not wanting the police involved. There are examples of doctors and therapists in the 1970s, seemingly more concerned about “Father” than about the children, operating on a professional belief that there would be no long-lasting impact on a young child. The vast majority of reports were not about events involving a current minor, but about adults reporting something in the past that happened to them decades ago, meaning no criminal charges could be pursued.Similarly, Cardinal Timothy Dolan seems to want to brush aside the criticisms this release will bring and seems to continue making excuses about why the abusing priests have the right to continue receiving compensation/support...
Unfortunately, we have already seen how the release of these documents will cause some to raise old and discredited attacks – like priest-abusers having been “paid” to apply for laicization, (like it or not, bishops do have a canon law obligation to provide basic support like health care and room and board for their priests until they have finally moved on) or that establishing a perpetual care fund from money belonging to cemeteries and designated for that purpose – as required by state law and mandated by the archdiocesan finance council – was an attempt to shield it from the bankruptcy proceedings. While certain groups can be counted-upon to take certain statements or events out of context, the documents released show plainly that the bishops have been faithful to the promises made over a decade ago: permanent removal from ministry of any priest who abused a minor; complete cooperation with law enforcement officials; and, strict child-safety requirements.A news report can be found at this link.