Archbishop Listecki Quietly Returns to Ministry Twice Removed Priest, SNAP Responds
January 27, 2013
Archbishop Listecki quietly returns to ministry twice removed priest, SNAP responds
Fr. John Schreiter removed from ministry in 2004 and 2012 for two separate reports of assaulting teenagers
Archbishop Listecki continues to clear priests reported for child sex assault at alarming rate
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259/John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575
It has been learned that last week Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki quietly returned to ministry a twice reported, twice removed and now twice reinstated Roman Catholic priest after separate reports of sexually assaulting teenagers. returned Schreiter to ministry, stating that his handpicked review board had found the sexual assault report to be somehow “unsubstantiated”.
Then, in June of 2012 a new report from a second alleged victim of Schreiter’s was received through the Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy filing. Schreiter was removed as a pastor, this time from St. John Neumann’s. Now Listecki and his handpicked review board has returned him to ministry again. The review board appears to have never directly heard from either of the victims.
So, what is Listecki’s known record as a bishop in handling priest sex abuse reports? This is especially important since Listecki is supposed to be diligently investigating dozens of never before identified clerics for child sex crimes as detailed in the 570 victim cases submitted two years ago to the Milwaukee Federal Bankruptcy Court.
In his previous post as bishop of La Crosse, according to a national study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Listecki ran a diocese that held the record for clearing priests of child sex crimes, six times higher than the national average.
Even with this extraordinary and alarmingly suspicious percentage, in his six years in La Crosse, Listecki appears to have never once reviewed, reconsidered or questioned a single one of these cases. When asked by reporters in 2009 if he was going to finally conduct such a review before assuming his new post as the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Listecki said he didn’t have the time and was too busy with the holidays.
11 more priests were alleged to have abused children in La Crosse since the John Jay study but it’s unclear what Listecki did about them. He repeatedly refused to publish the names of the clerics or release any information about the reports against them, which presumes he considered the reports unfounded.
Listecki was also publically criticized by the Eau Claire police chief for his failure to institute a proper reporting policy for the diocese, which he would not correct. And he was entangled in several high profile cases involving priests where it was learned that Listecki did not report the alleged crimes to police or that criminal evidence was not turned over to law enforcement.
In fact, the day Listecki reportedly told Schreiter that he could go back to ministry it was learned through court records that for almost two months top Milwaukee church officials were refusing to cooperate or turn criminal evidence over to police in an active child sex assault investigation in Fond du Lac.
There have been six newly identified Milwaukee diocesan priests known to have been reported for assaulting children since Listecki took over the archdiocese: Frs. Wenig, Molling, Musinski, Nowak, Schreiter, and an unnamed retired priest. The actual number is likely much higher, since these priests have mostly come to the attention of the public through law enforcement. Of these six, Listecki has cleared or left unresolved for years five of these cases. Only one, a deceased priest, has been added to the “official” list of abusers. Even Fr. Michael Nowak, who was sentenced to jail for his acts in 2011 is not on the list and is likely still a priest.
Now Listecki is allegedly investigating potentially dozens of never before identified, newly reported clergy for child sex crimes committed sometime over the past several decades.
Listecki’s track record with abuse reports and especially his treatment of men and woman who have come the archdiocese or to the court is truly disconcerting and troubling. Over the past two years, Listecki has spent nine million dollars in lawyers’ fees with the sole purpose of trying to throw out of bankruptcy court the cases of 570 victims he himself publically asked and encouraged to come forward so that the archdiocese could provide them “justice” and “compensation.” A fraction of that money could have spent hiring an entire team of FBI trained investigators in child sex crimes.
And what happens when victims report their crimes to Listecki, hoping that the cleric who harmed them will never be able to use the priesthood again to destroy the innocence of another child? If you look at the numbers that don’t lie, they are likely to have a very slim chance of even being believed, apparently, before they even walk into the doors of the Cousins Center.
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. Visit us at SNAPnetwork.org and SNAPwisconsin.com