Will It Ever End?…third Priest Removed from Ministry in the Milwaukee Archdiocese in the Last Two Months

Voice from the Desert
May 7, 2011

Fr. Michael E. Nowak, pastor of St. Therese of Liseiux in Kenosha [Wisconsin], removed for sexual misconduct

Priest under police investigation for making sexually explicit call or calls to female minor

Third priest removed from ministry in the Milwaukee archdiocese during the last two months

Statement by John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director

CONTACT: 414.336.8575

–Listecki letter to parish attached–

A letter this evening from Milwaukee archbishop Jerome Listecki was read at mass at St. Theresa of Liseiux parish in Kenosha announcing that their pastor, Fr. Michael Nowak, has been removed from priestly ministry for recent sexual misconduct concerning a female minor and is under police investigation. Nowak made a sexually explicit phone call or phone calls to the girl, she informed her parents, and her parents reported Nowak to the police. The girl and her family made the right decision to notify authorities. And they likely did so because of the continuing attention that has been put on this issue by victims of priest abuse continuing to come forward and report the crimes.

The letter was read to the parish by the parish secretary and not Listcki, who was not with the parish tonight to make the announcement, as he has not been with two other recently removed priests. It is not known if there were prior reports on Nowak but the phone call or phone calls occurred last week.

The removal of Fr. Nowak follows the earlier departure of Fr. Laurin Wenig from St. Mary's Visitation in Elm Grove. Wenig had been removed in February for credible reports of child sex abuse. It is known that several individuals have reported being molested as youngsters by Wenig. Also removed from ministry, according to the archdiocese, is an unknown priest who had been earlier placed in retirement.

The removal of Fr. Nowak from ministry follows the filing of a motion on Friday by the archdiocese asking the bankruptcy court to set a deadline of September 15 for victims of sexual abuse to file a claim. The "bar date" requested by the archdiocese, after which victims will not be able to seek redress from the court, is among the most restrictive that has been sought since church officials began seeking the protection of the bankruptcy courts.

With abusers clearly still in ministry or under investigation, the church sexual abuse crisis is far from over. A reasonable amount of time is needed for victims and the court to make sure all abusers are identified and removed.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is


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