Archdiocese Clears Priest in Sex Abuse; Vatican May Take up Another's Case
By Annysa Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
May 10, 2012
A Waukesha County Catholic priest, who was placed on leave because of a 20-year-old sex abuse allegation, is being returned to ministry after Archbishop Jerome Listecki ruled the allegation unsubstantiated, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Thursday.
Father Mark Molling would return to St. Paul Parish in Genesee Depot this week, Listecki wrote in a May 5 letter to the congregation.
In reinstating Molling, Listecki said he was following the recommendations of an independent investigator hired by the archdiocese and the Diocesan Review Board, which bases its review on the investigator’s report. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said she did not know the reasons the allegation was deemed not credible.
Molling was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after a man, now in prison, alleged he molested him in the mid-1990s when he was a minor at Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales. Molling denied the allegation.
In a separate case, the archdiocese has referred the allegations involving Father Laurin Wenig, who was placed on leave in February 2011, to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, spokeswoman Julie Wolf said.
The Congregation reviews those cases in which there is a “semblance of truth” or an appeal, according to the Vatican.
Wenig, who last served at St. Mary’s Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, is accused of molesting at least five minors, including a boy between the ages of 11 and 13 when he served at St. Nicholas parish in the 1970s.
Allegations regarding both priests were reviewed by local prosecutors. The Milwaukee District Attorney's Office said four of the cases involving Wenig were beyond the statutes of limitations, and that the conduct in the fifth did not constitute a crime. The Waukesha County District Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to a request for information in the Molling case.