Appellate tribunal confirms guilty verdict of Fr. Gerald Vosen
By Brent King
Roman Catholic Diocese of Madison
July 16, 2015
MADISON -- Diocese of Madison officials were recently notified by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in Rome, of the publication of the findings of the appellate tribunal court’s hearing of the appeal of Fr. Gerald Vosen, who was placed on administrative leave in 2004 and formally suspended since 2008.
With this release, we inform the faithful of the diocese and the general public of the appellate tribunal’s conclusions.
The appellate tribunal has confirmed the finding of the first-instance tribunal (Diocese of Madison’s — 2007) that Fr. Gerald Vosen is guilty of two offenses against the sixth commandment (sexual misconduct), with minors under the age of 16.
Likewise, the appellate tribunal confirmed the penalty issued by the first-instance tribunal, namely, Father Vosen’s permanent removal from all ecclesiastical ministry with the admonition to lead a life of prayer and penance. No further right to appeal exists.
The confirmation of this penalty means that Father Vosen is not to exercise any public ministry, whatsoever, nor is he to present himself publically as a minister of the Church, including by wearing clerical dress.
• Accusations of sexual misconduct against Father Vosen were brought to the diocese’s attention in 2003. He was immediately placed on temporary leave, pending an investigation and possible trial.
• In February of 2004, the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board found at least one accusation credible, and the matter was referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which instructed the local tribunal to proceed with a trial. Father Vosen was placed on formal administrative leave, as a matter of policy, while the case was being adjudicated by a local Church tribunal.
• In August of 2007, the local Church tribunal judged that Father Vosen was guilty of two offenses against the sixth commandment and sentenced him to permanent removal from all ecclesiastical ministry. Father Vosen appealed this decision, as was his right.
• In 2008, Father Vosen published a book named, Pick a Number: Stories of Faith. In the book, Father Vosen made explicit mention of what occurred during the previous penal trial, knowingly violating the legal proceedings’ protocols, which exist to protect the privacy and reputations of all involved — the accused, as well as witnesses. Father Vosen was formally suspended, and all his priestly faculties were removed.
Father Vosen’s case is officially concluded, with no further right to appeal. He can never again act publically as a priest or obtain any faculties for such ministry.
As always, any allegation of sexual misconduct should be brought to the attention of law enforcement officials. If allegations involve priests, deacons, or other Church personnel, regardless of when they are said to have occurred, they should also be reported to the Diocese of Madison, by way of the Sexual Misconduct Question and Reporting Line, 608-821-3162. The diocesan policies regarding sexual abuse allegations, and instructions for making a report of sexual misconduct, are available on the diocesan website: www.madisondiocese.org