Milwaukee Archdiocese Doing the Right Thing on Investigation
By Ernst-Ulrich Franzen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
June 11, 2012
The Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese did the right thing last week in placing a soon-to-retire priest on administrative leave while it investigates an allegation of sexual abuse three decades ago. The accusation is just that right now, an accusation; it does not mean that Father John Schreiter of St. John Neumann parish in Waukesha is guilty of anything. But administrative leave is appropriate as church officials investigate the allegation in accordance with archdiocesan policy.
This was the second accusation against Schreiter - the first, in 2004, was investigated and found to be unsubstantiated - and the archdiocese needs to act quickly and thoroughly with any accusation.
We do wish, however, Vicar General Bill Kohler had used more temperate language in telling parishioners about the investigation on Sunday.
"You know that the victims have lawyers, and you know they're watching us," he said. "You watch television. You see the kinds of things they say about the church on the courthouse steps. You don't want that kind of antic to take place against you. So right now, we'll just have to delay father's retirement, just put it on hold, until we can conclude this very difficult process."
Yes, the archdiocese has to be watchful and careful. But it's not because Victims advocates engage in "antics" - they don't - or because lawyers are watching. The archdiocese has to investigate because because it's the right and just thing to do in all such cases.