Previously, a short three minute video was was posted on youtube of Ron Johnson testimony before the Wisconsin State Senate on January 12, 2010, in opposition to the Child Victims Act.
I have recently discovered where that video came from: WisconsinEye, which is somewhat like a Wisconsin version of CSPAN.
So, I went back and viewed the whole committee hearing which lasted approximately four hours. And I discovered many shocking revelations.
A few newsworthy points:* It is clear that Johnson was there as part of a coalition of Wisconsin Catholic Dioceses led by Archbishop Jerome Listecki. (If that name sounds familiar, its because its the same ultra-rightwing Listecki that made national news for saying that Obama shouldn't go to Notre Dame.) * Listecki also has the dubious distinction of running the LaCrosse Diocese for many years. During Listecki's time in LaCrosse the Diocese had the highest "clearance rate" of priests accused of childhood sexual assaults in the nation. The national average of accused priests being "cleared" by the diocese and being allowed to return to their parishes is 12%. At the LaCrosse Diocese, the rate is a whopping 64%.
* The entire Catholic coalition stayed around for nearly the whole hearing, until about a half hour from the end, when victims of childhood sexual abuse were really starting to lay into them. When I say lay into them, I mean it-- I included some on the video below. * Tony Blando also was there representing the Green Bay Diocese. This is the same Tony Blando that runs the Unified Catholic Schools in Oshkosh, where Johnson served many years on their board. Currently Blando is working as a full-time staffer on the Johnson campaign. * Several of the victims testifying, including John Mutter, were sexually assaulted within the boundaries of the Green Bay Diocese, where Ron Johnson served on Finance Council (which deals with sexual assault lawsuits). These victims were testifying in favor of lifting the statute of limitations so that they could sue the Green Bay Diocese for reassigning instead of arresting pedophile priests. * JOhnson's testimony really stands out for its breathtaking ridiculousness. Johnson was the only one to not only to speak against getting removing the statutes of limitations, but said it was a "legitimate question" whether "employers" (such as the Green Bay Diocese) should even be sued at all when they reassigned instead of arrested "employees" (priests) they knew to be pedophiles. Wow. * Julie Lassa, who is in a tough fight to get Dave Obey's old seat in northern Wisconsin, was the sponsor of the Child Victims Act.
For those of you that have not been following this story a quick refresher course: * Johnson served on the Finance Council of Green Bay, which has ultimate authority of the Diocese's finances-- including settling of sex abuse law suits.* The head of the Finance Council was a guy named Robert Morneau, who has been "reassigning instead of arresting" pedophile priests since the early 1970s. * One particular case Morneau horribly mishandled was that of Rev. Feeney, who Morneau reassigned 14 times in 14 years. One of Feeneys's victims is currently sueing the Green Bay Diocese and Diocese is trying to get it dismissed under, you guessed it, statute of limitations grounds.
Anyway, below is a short video I made with some excerpts of the hearing. If you would like to watch the whole video go to Wisconsin Eye and look in there video archives section.