It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about David Prosser and his relationship to the sexual abuse cases that took place involving a priest in the Diocese of Green Bay back in the 1970’s. A little clarification is necessary because now one of the victims of the abuse has appeared in Pro-Prosser advertisements claiming that Prosser is not to blame for what happened. I’m not going to speculate as to why this individual (and I’ll not name him, even though he appears on camera and is identified by name) has chosen to make these statements, but here are the facts.
David Prosser was born and raised a Roman Catholic and was contacted by an old school friend who believed that her two sons had been molested by the local priest in the town of Freedom, Wisconsin. As an officer of the court, Prosser had a legal and professional obligation to turn this matter over to law enforcement so the charge could be properly investigated.
Prosser didn’t do it. He was running for the State Assembly and it’s possible that being involved in such a sensational investigation might have harmed his chances in the upcoming election (the county is heavily Catholic). Maybe Prosser didn’t entirely believe the mother’s story. But for whatever reason, it would be nearly a decade before anyone in local law enforcement would hear about this case.
Although Prosser was the County Prosecutor, he had no experience in either law enforcement or social work. Prosser had no idea how to conduct a criminal investigation or how to properly interrogate victims of a sex crime. In spite of that lack of qualification, Prosser undertook his own investigation – again without ever notifying law enforcement about the matter. Not surprisingly, Prosser couldn’t find any other evidence despite the fact that we now know for a fact that there were other incidents – some involving the two original victims – that he never uncovered.
But if Prosser was reluctant to talk to local law enforcement officials, he was more than happy to share this information with the Diocese of Green Bay. One can only assume that in order to bring the Bishop up to speed, Prosser shared with him the names of two minors who had been molested. So along with failing to report a felony, divulging the name of two minors who were the victims of sex crimes makes two good reasons why Prosser should have been investigated and/or suspended by the State Attorney General.
Prosser now claims that he didn’t pursue the case because there wasn’t enough evidence. The reason for that, of course, is that at the very least, Prosser never turned the information he had over to competent authorities who would have uncovered the evidence that Prosser missed. He also said that he didn’t want to cause unnecessary scandal because the younger brother of the priest in question was a featured vocalist on “The Lawrence Welk Show.”
I swear to God I’m not making this up. Lawrence Welk.
As the result of behind-closed-doors discussions with the Bishop – and again I cannot stress enough how nobody from any law enforcement agency was involved in this matter – it was decided that the priest would be exiled to another parish. Six months later, and nobody seems to know why this took six months, the priest was reassigned to a new parish where he kept on molesting young boys until somebody other the Prosser learned about it. The priest was subsequently investigated, arrested, convicted, and is currently in prison.
As I said earlier, I’m not going to speculate as to why one of the victims, one who just two years ago was angrily demanding the Prosser recuse himself from any cases involving the victims of clerical sex abuse, would suddenly decide to endorse the man who so profoundly screwed up his life. But the victim's startling decision to recant his earlier statements and criticism of Prosser do NOT change the facts of the case.