Victims Object to Pedophile Priest's Burial in Full Vestments
By Annysa Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 15, 2012
A Milwaukee area priest who was restricted from ministry for sexually abusing a child in the 1960 has died, and victim advocates are objecting to his being buried in his priestly robes.
“This is absolutely outrageous,” Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said of the burial plans for Jerome E. Lanser, 88. “Here’s a man who violated everything the priesthood stands for,” and he is being buried “in full uniform,” he said.
Julie Wolf, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Archdiocese said Lanser would have a closed casket out of respect for victims, but that he was entitled to be buried in his vestments because he remained a priest until death. A private viewing will be held for family, but she did not know whether the casket would be open or closed for that.
Isely said he learned about Lanser's death from victims who were upset that he could be buried in his robes. There appears to have been no obituary published, although the archdiocese updated its online list of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against them, changing his status from "fully restricted" to "deceased."
Lanser, who served in a number of parishes and as a chaplain in the archdiocese, was accused of sexually abusing a boy from the time he was 8 until he turned 13, according to news accounts of a failed lawsuit in the case.
He was among the 43 diocesan priests identified by the archdiocese in 2004 as having substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against them. The list of those names, now at 44, appear on the archdiocese web site at www.archmil.org. Lanser’s death brings to 21 the number of priests there who are listed as deceased.
Lanser was to be buried after a Mass Thursday at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Belgium. Archbishop Jerome Listecki chose not to attend, according to Wolf; the Mass was to be said by the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy, Father Patrick Heppe.