List of Accused Area Priests Sought
Group Wants to Compile Names of Those in Religious Orders Who Have Abused
By Tom Heinen firstname.lastname@example.org
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Milwaukee WI]
July 14, 2004
A local support group for victims of sexual abuse has called for the public to help it compile a list of religious-order priests in the Milwaukee area who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a child.
That action was the latest volley in what the group promised would be an escalating campaign to get Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan to pressure religious orders to release the names of their accused priests.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests tried to dramatize the need for more information Monday by doing door-to-door leafleting and holding a news conference outside an east side day care center in a neighborhood where a religious-order priest who was convicted twice of sexually abusing boys has been living since his parole in February 2002. He is under electronic monitoring.
News that Father Dennis A. Pecore is living in the area came as a shock to Thelma Wade, assistant to the pastor of the apostolic church that runs Heavenly Care East Side Day Care, 1640 N. Franklin Place, and various youth programs in an adjacent building.
"This is the first I've heard about it," Wade said. "I think it's terrible that he's in the neighborhood. I know the parents will be concerned."
Pecore's name has been reported by news media over the years, including a recent Journal Sentinel article that reported he lives on the east side. He voluntarily left the Salvatorian order while in prison and agreed not to function as a priest, said Father Keith Brennan, a Salvatorian spokesman. Paperwork that could result in Pecore being formally returned to the lay state either has been sent to the Vatican or will be soon, he added.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, notification of the public is left to local law enforcement agencies when convicted sex offenders are paroled.
Community meetings are organized in Milwaukee to alert he public to the presence of violent sex offenders who have been determined by the courts to be likely to offend again, said Sgt. Ken Henning, a Milwaukee Police Department public information officer.
Information about other offenders - specifically those who have two or more sexual assault convictions - is available to the public in district police stations and at www.milwaukeepolice.org/SEXOFFENDERINFO.
Milwaukee police are developing a community notification procedure that likely will call for notification to community groups and block-watch leaders, said Capt. Sue Edman, commander of the Sensitive Crimes Division.
The victim in one of the cases for which Pecore was convicted, Nick Janovsky, 23, spoke at the news conference Monday as SNAP leaders called for Dolan to do more to alert the public to religious-order priests, brothers and nuns who have abused minors. Janovsky is Pecore's nephew and the complainant in a pending criminal case against Father Simon Palathingal, who allegedly sexually assaulted Janovsky in the early 1990s.
On Friday, Dolan released the names of 43 present, former, or deceased diocesan priests who had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. He sent letters that day to local religious orders urging them to do the same. There are 414 diocesan priests and 345 religious-order priests in the archdiocese.
Kathleen Hohl, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, stressed that canon law prevents a bishop from interfering in the internal life and governance of religious orders.
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