Priest in Milwaukee Archdiocese Child Abuse Records Worked in Caledonia
By Charles Gorney
July 3, 2013
Daniel Budzynski was pastor at St. Louis Parish from 1984 until 1987.
A priest whose name appears on a list of priests removed or restricted from ministry because of substianted allegations of sexual abuse of minors worked in Caledonia in the 1980s, according to records released Monday.
The release, partly motivated by the archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, includes about 6,000 pages of documents — from personnel files of priests accused of sexual abuse to depositions of high-ranking archdiocese officials, including former archbishop Timothy Dolan.
Among the names listed is Daniel Budzynski, who was pastor at St. Louis Parish from 1984 until 1987.
According to the Racine Journal Times, at least five of the priests named in the documents allegedly molested children in parishes in Racine County.
The documents were selected by the abuse survivor attorneys, archdiocese chief of staff Jerry Topczewski told Patch. Though the records were released as part of a bankruptcy agreement, Topczewski stressed that releasing the files can be part of the healing process for abuse survivors.
"Ultimately, we want them to know that the church loves them," Topczewski said. "And the church owes them a debt of gratitude for having the courage to come forward."
But according to press releases from SNAP Wisconsin, the local arm of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the documents have some major implications for the archdiocese.
In one press release, SNAP Wisconsin Director John Pilmaier suggests that archdiocese officials were involved in a “criminal conspiracy” with the practice of re-assigning known offenders to churches and schools after they underwent treatment for pedophilia.
According to the press release, a group of experts with the American Psychological Association compared the practice to “giving an alcoholic a job in a bar.”
Here is what the records have to say about the priest assigned to a local church:
Budzynski was pastor at St. Louis Parish from 1984 until 1987. There was one allegation of child abuse against him during his time there.
His files include a 1966 letter from Budzynski requesting that he be assigned as a guidance counselor or teacher, as he has "since been especially interested in helping boys."
He later spent many years on leave and in counseling, as detailed by his timeline. Most of his treatment focused on alcoholism and his subsequent solicitation of young boys.
In 1983, there were letters expressing his therapist's belief that Budzynski should not work with children. Still, he was given other assignments in parishes until his 1995 retirement.
One document in his file lists over 42 potential victims. He was laicized in 2004.
Allegations Treated Differently Now
According to Topczewski, "no priest today can serve in ministry if there's a substantiated allegation of sex abuse."
He told Patch that allegations are immediately reported to the police. If the district attorney determines that an allegation cannot be prosecuted, he said the church conducts its own investigation, headed by an independent review board and often facilitated by retired Milwaukee police detectives.