Archdiocese Confirms Listecki Returned Twice-removed Priest to Ministry after Second Sexual Assault Report
By Peter Isely
January 29, 2013
Archdiocese confirms Listecki returned twice-removed priest to ministry after second sexual assault report
Milwaukee’s Archbishop continues to clear priests, disbelieve victim reports, at record rate
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
Only after having been discovered by a victim’s advocacy group, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has finally confirmed today that they have returned to ministry Fr. John Schreiter after he was removed a second time from a Waukesha parish for allegedly sexually assaulting teenagers (story posted below). Schreiter, who was pastor of a parish in Waukesha, has “retired” and left the state, presumably, to Arizona. He goes as a priest in good standing, according to Listecki, who can continue in Arizona or anywhere else to work, counsel and pray with children and families.
“Why would Archbishop Listecki want to keep secret his decision and belief that Schreiter is innocent?
Perhaps, because as detailed in the SNAP release last week, Listecki appears to have the troubling history of exonerating more priests with sexual assault reports than any bishop in the United States.
A national study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice shows that even the US Bishops have maintained that the number of falsely accused priests is nine percent. In Listecki’s former diocese of La Crosse, and now it seems in his new Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the number of falsely accused priests or mysteriously “unsubstantiated” reports (i.e., “the victim is lying”) is truly miraculous, near 70 percent, or six times the national average. That’s by far the highest clearance rate for priests who may have harmed youngsters in the United States.
Indeed, the number of false reports of child sexual abuse against priests, according to the John Jay study is under 5 percent.
Except, it seems, in the dioceses Listecki runs where no victim’s crimes, it seems, can be believed or “substantiated”. Well, maybe, Philadelphia, where a Grand Jury last year finally indicted and prosecutor’s convicted a top church official for failure to report sex crimes against children to the police and for leaving dozens of priests with reports of sexual assaults in ministry.
Listecki is now personally responsible for scores of newly identified clergy who may have committed sex crimes and whose evidence against them has been filed and under seal (at the insistence of the archdiocese) in the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Listecki now has had two years to determine the veracity of these many reports and remove from ministry any cleric who has been found, upon a reasonable standard of professional proof, to have sexually assaulted or abused children.
Given Listecki’s alarming and seemingly unprecedented record, even for a Catholic bishop, of rarely believing the victim or witnesses in these cases, isn’t it time for someone else besides the archbishop and his hand-picked “review board” to take a serious look at the criminal evidence in the Milwaukee Archdiocese—like the Wisconsin Attorney General, a Grand Jury, or a Special Task Force.
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.