Organization, Diocese Speak-Out about Lawsuit

January 7, 2009

[with video]

A national organization is speaking out about its lawsuit against the La Crosse Diocese…and the Diocese is responding.

Representatives from the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests – or SNAP – were in La Crosse Wednesday to present their accusations.

SNAP claims the Diocese hid the fact that one of its priests was a threat to children and others. The Diocese removed Raymond Bornbach from the ministry in 2004. He passed away in early 2006.

SNAP's Midwest Director says the group is alarmed about the alleged abuse and wants to make this an opportunity to re-open the books and look at past reports.

Video: SNAP Lawsuit

Peter Isely says SNAP also has concerns that predator priests may still be working in the Diocese.

Isely says the lawsuit also includes a direct request to current Bishop Jerome Listecki.

"We're asking the Bishop to turn over the records and the files to the District Attorney here so that he can take a look and assure the public that there are not sex offenders in ministry right now in the La Crosse Dioceses," Isely said.

The Attorney for the Diocese released a statement Wednesday, saying SNAP is making "numerous inflammatory, non-true allegations about the Diocese and its Bishops unrelated to the issues in the lawsuit".

The statement also says "at no time did the Diocese of La Crosse engage in any fraud or cover-up of allegations made about Father Bornbach".

The La Crosse Diocese covers 19 counties in west central Wisconsin -- from as far north as New Auburn down to Prairie du Chien.


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