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  Dousman Priest on Leave during Investigation
St. Bruno pastor denies 25-year-old allegation of sex abuse

By Tom Heinen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 29, 2004

Father John P. Schreiter, pastor of St. Bruno Church in Dousman since August 1996, has been placed on leave while the Archdiocese of Milwaukee investigates a nearly 25-year-old sexual abuse allegation against him.

Normally, the archdiocese attempts to protect the reputations of accused priests during such internal investigations by not saying why they are on leave.

Schreiter, who has denied the allegation, chose to share information with his congregation, said archdiocesan spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl. Hohl said the incident was alleged to have occurred in Sauk County and "was not parish related."

The accuser was an adult at the time of the alleged incident, she added.

Schreiter, 61, served as vicar of Milwaukee's inner-city churches from 1992 to 1995, overseeing the consolidation of nine parishes into two. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The allegation was received in mid-March and was forwarded to the Sauk County district attorney's office, which notified the archdiocese last week that the case could not be considered for prosecution because the statute of limitations had expired, Hohl said.

Schreiter was placed on leave April 22. A letter written by him was sent to the homes of all registered parishioners and was read after Masses last weekend.

"I wish that I could share this information with you personally, but since I cannot, I wanted to write to you and let you know why I will be away from our parish," Schreiter says in the letter's opening paragraph.

Schreiter's letter describes the archdiocesan process for handling complaints, denies the allegation and says that he is cooperating fully with the archdiocese's investigation. It says that Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan appointed Father Bob Stiefvater, archdiocesan vocations director, as temporary parish administrator during his absence.

After noting that archdiocesan staff members would be available in the parish office early this week to assist the parish, the letter concludes with, "I believe it is important that you learn of this situation directly from me. I knew that my absence would cause concern in our community and I wanted to be sure that you learned of the facts as quickly as possible.

"I understand that this will be a very difficult time for all of us. You will be in my daily prayers and thoughts. I hope that you will keep me in yours."

 
 

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