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  Lodi Priest Put on Leave
Faces Allegations from 27 Years Ago

Capital Times [Madison, WI]
June 10, 2002

A Catholic priest in Lodi was placed on administrative leave Sunday after being accused of having sexual contact with a minor 27 years ago.

Bishop William Bullock announced the priest's leave during weekend Masses at St. Patrick Parish in Lodi, where the Rev. Kenneth Klubertanz was pastor.

Klubertanz is accused of having sexual contact with a 13-year-old boy while he was an associate pastor in Janesville, Bill Brophy, spokesman for the 11-county Madison Diocese, said today. The allegation was made to the diocese in a letter last week. The diocese is not revealing the name of the accuser.

Klubertanz, 62, has denied the allegations, the diocese said.

The removal of Klubertanz was announced the same day that a priest in Green Bay was placed on administrative leave following an accusation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Church leaders will try to devise a broad policy for handling sex abuse accusations when the U.S. Conference of Bishops meets Thursday in Dallas.

The Madison Diocese will not provide information on the allegation against Klubertanz to civil authorities, because his accuser has asked that that not be done, Brophy said.

Msgr. Paul Swain, vicar general for the diocese, in recent interviews has said that allegations of sexual contact by priests with minors should be reported to civil authorities.

"In any incidents that put people currently at risk, we'd be happy to do that," Brophy said. "But we're being sensitive to the request of the person who wrote the letter."

Klubertanz became the pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Lodi two years ago, after serving at St. John the Evangelist in Spring Green from 1981 to 2000. He was working in Janesville at the time of the alleged assault, but that was not where the assault is alleged to have occurred, Brophy said. He would not elaborate.

In a statement released by the Diocese of Madison, Klubertanz asked for prayers, "so that God will help me walk through this dark light."

The priest also expressed remorse for trouble the allegation may have caused.

"If this embarrasses anyone, I ask forgiveness," he wrote.

In suspending Klubertanz, the diocese turned to a 1993 policy that calls for removing a priest from his assignment after an allegation of sexual misconduct, pending investigation.

Brophy said an "independent" investigation into the charges against Klubertanz will be led by someone not employed by the diocese, but added that he had not heard of any individuals being considered for the job.

Also on Sunday, the Green Bay Diocese revealed that the Rev. Mike Carroll has been accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 20 years ago.

The diocese, which serves 16 northeastern Wisconsin counties, will send representatives to Carroll's parishes this week.

Carroll is pastor at St. Anthony Parish in Tigerton, Holy Family-St. William Parish in Wittenberg and Eland and St. Mary Parish in Marion.

 
 

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