Vatican Defrocks Green Bay Priest Accused of Sexual Assault
By John Pilmaier
July 5, 2013
Vatican defrocks Green Bay priest accused of sexual assault
Diocese of Green Bay received report over one year ago, failed to notify public
Predator priests identities and whereabouts remain unknown
Statement by John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director
The Diocese of Green Bay announced today that the Holy See has dispensed Fr. Jerome Koerner from the clerical state. Diocesan officials acknowledge that they received a report of child sexual assault against Koerner in May 2012, over one year ago, and are only now notifying the public. The diocese has not provided details about the nature of the sexual assault report, including where it occurred, or which parishes in the Green bay diocese Koerner was assigned to.
The lack of information that is forthcoming from the diocese is deeply troubling and continues a long pattern and practice of concealing child sex crimes, and keeping the names and whereabouts of child predators secret. There are at least 51 clerics, as of 2004, who are acknowledged by the diocese to have confirmed, credible, and substantiated reports of sexual assault against a child or minor. 35 of those priests are diocesan and 16 belong to the Norbertine religious order headquartered in De Pere.
The citizens of Wisconsin have no idea where Jerome Koerner or the other 51 clerics accused of child sexual assault are located.
Because the Diocese of Green Bay refuses to release the identities and whereabouts of their known child sex offenders leaving the public dangerously at risk.
Why does this matter?
Research shows that most predators will have between 80 and 100 victims over the course of their lifetime. The public safety concern is so great that legislators in Madison reintroduced the Child Victims Act. The proposed bill would help identify these predators by allowing their victims access to the doors of the courthouse, where they had previously been barred, because of outdated statute of limitations laws. When similar legislation was passed in California hundreds unknown predators were identified. It is unfortunate that the Green Bay diocese cannot voluntarily provide this information to parents so that they are able to keep their children safe.
We encourage anyone with information about Fr. Jerome Koerner to contact Green Bay law enforcement officials.
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.