List of 43 Abusive Priests Released
Dolan Names Only Diocesan Clergy in Long-Awaited Move

By Tom Heinen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Wisconsin]
July 10, 2004

After nearly two years of deliberation and consultation, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan released on Friday the names of 43 current or former diocesan priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

In doing so, he joined the ranks of Roman Catholic bishops in other cities — including Baltimore; Los Angeles; Madison; Toledo, Ohio; and Tucson, Ariz. — who have taken similar actions.

About a dozen of the names had not been previously reported.

Dolan's decision is a significant step toward restoring trust and encouraging other victims to come forward, said Anne Burke, interim chairwoman of the bishops' National Review Board on sexual abuse. However, victims groups pointed out that the various religious orders whose priests serve in the archdiocese have not taken the same step and called on Dolan to do more.

Burke said that because Dolan is in a leadership position as chairman of the bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry, his voice may carry beyond Milwaukee.

"He's considered a leader, and I think that it does help ...," Burke said. "I think that it's important for the community to know that the diocese is transparent with this and that they are not trying to hide anything."

Not all accused named

Burke, an Illinois appellate judge, was pleased that Milwaukee had not released names of priests who had faced unsubstantiated allegations or ones that were not investigated. Citing due process concerns, she criticized the Archdiocese of Chicago for releasing names of priests if there was any reason to suspect they had abused a minor.

Dolan, in his weekly e-mail message to parish and archdiocesan personnel on Friday, acknowledged that the release of the names "may cause another shock wave to move through your parish community" and that he might be criticized.

"Some will see it as a vengeful act," Dolan wrote. "Others will see it as too little, too late. Others will question why the names of religious order priests are excluded. Some will criticize me for not releasing information about every priest that has ever been accused, but whose alleged offense has never been substantiated.

"As I weighed these issues during the past months, I kept coming to the same conclusion — anything we can do to keep children safe, we must do. Anything we can do to help people who have been victimized come forward, we must do. ..."

After the Archdiocese of Baltimore released the names of 56 accused priests in 2002, more than 60 victims came forward, said Sean Caine, its director of communications.

One Dolan critic on Friday was Peter Isely, a regional spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, whose group has long sought a release of names.

Isely contended that the list did not include about half the abusers — the religious order priests — and that most of the names already were known.

David Clohessy, SNAP's national director, said it was "sad that it has taken years of pressure from victims and parishioners to get this tiny step forward. And often as many as a third of the priests in any diocese are religious order priests. He (Dolan) has a duty to release whatever religious order names he has and determine whether there are others he doesn't have."

Archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski said that Dolan, who meets twice a year with the heads of religious orders that have ministries here, sent a letter to them Friday urging them to follow his example and release the names.

"As the archbishop of Milwaukee, he does not have the authority (under church law) to interfere with the normal business of a religious order," Topczewski said.

Dolan's move praised

Terry Ryan, acting as a spokeswoman for the local Voice of the Faithful and Call to Action reform groups, praised Dolan's move toward greater openness and transparency in a statement: "It's a necessary step on the road to accountability and restoring credibility. Hopefully this action will remove the cloud of suspicion from priests of integrity ... It's important that this same degree of disclosure occur among religious orders. ..."

There are 414 diocesan priests and 345 religious order priests in the archdiocese, Topczewski said.

The list of 43 priests is posted at the archdiocesan Web site. The archdiocese previously said that there were 45 priests, but a more detailed look at the credibility of allegations lowered the list by two, Topczewski said.

The list includes 23 current priests who receive a minimal income, are fully restricted, and cannot do any public ministry, wear clerical garb, or represent themselves as priests. All of their cases have been forwarded or are being forwarded to the Vatican, whose Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will consider several options, Topczewski said.

Under the norms approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican, any priest who commits even a single act of sexual abuse of a minor will be removed permanently from ministry. Although elderly and infirm priests may be allowed to continue in the priesthood in secluded prayer and penance, most of the others are expected to face laicization.

The list also includes 14 deceased priests, three laicized priests, one priest whose return to the lay state is under appeal, and two priests who simply left their ministry.

Although an earlier report also said that two deacons had credible allegations against them, their names were not included in the list. Topczewski said their status had not been addressed yet.


Archdiocese of Milwaukee:


The Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Friday released the names of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Background is from Journal Sentinel files:

Raymond A. Adamsky: ordained 1958; not allowed to function as a priest; retired.

James L. Arimond: ordained 1965; left the priesthood; convicted of fourth-degree sexual assault on a teenage boy in 1990; had been a state-licensed counselor in Racine until a news story on his conviction; has given up license.

Ronald J. Bandle: ordained 1968; died 2001. Served at St. John the Baptist, Plymouth; Our Lady of Sorrows, Milwaukee; St. Patrick, Fond du Lac; St. Mary, Menomonee Falls; Holy Apostles, New Berlin; St. Mary, Waukesha; Sacred Heart and St. Anthony, Allenton; and SS Peter and Paul, Nenno.

James W. Beck: ordained 1969; left ministry.

Franklyn W. Becker: ordained 1964; not allowed to function as a priest; had helped out at weekend Masses until July 2002.

Michael C. Benham: ordained in 1976; not allowed to function as a priest; accused of abusing a boy at St. John Nepomuk, Racine, in 1970s.

Frederick J. Bistricky: ordained in 1965; retired; not allowed to function as a priest.

Daniel A. Budzynski: ordained 1956; retired; not allowed to function as a priest.

Peter A. Burns: ordained 1986; left the priesthood; sentenced to nine months in jail and 10 years of probation in 1992 for the second-degree sexual assault of a boy.

S. Joseph Collova: ordained 1976; not allowed to function as a priest; broke away from the Roman Catholic Church; now pastor of newly formed church in Dousman not recognized by the archdiocese; bishop of the new church says allegations against Collova are without merit.

Andrew P. Doyle: ordained 1976; left the priesthood.

William J. Effinger: ordained 1960; died in prison in 1996; convicted in 1993 of second-degree sexual assault of a boy; archdiocese reached undisclosed out-of-court settlements with seven men and two women in 1994 who said they were abused by Effinger.

George A. Etzel: ordained 1943; died 2003.

William J. Farrell: ordained 1947; dead.

James M. Flynt: ordained 1985; not allowed to function as a priest.

James M. Godin: ordained 1979; not allowed to function as a priest.

Edmund H. Haen: ordained 1923, died 1997; served at St. Lawrence, Milwaukee; St. James, Mequon; St. Kilian, Hartford; and St. Francis Cabrini, West Bend.

David J. Hanser: ordained 1958; not allowed to function as a priest; paid "several thousand dollars" to a Waukesha family in 1990 as part of an out-of-court settlement. The family later learned that he was chaplain at an area hospital and went public with the settlement.

Harold A. Herbst: ordained 1941; died 1979.

George S. Hopf: ordained 1949; retired.

James N. Jablonowski: ordained 1968; not allowed to function as a priest.

Marvin T. Knighton: ordained 1975; not allowed to function as a priest; acquitted in 2003 of charges that he sexually abused a boy in 1988 and 1989; archdiocese said two other abuse allegations were made against him.

John T. Knotek: ordained 1938; retired; not allowed to function as a priest.

Michael J. Krejci: ordained 1978; not allowed to function as a priest; removed from St. Theresa Church in Eagle in 2002 after acknowledging that he had inappropriately touched two teenagers years earlier.

Eugene T. Kreuzer: ordained 1952; not allowed to function as a priest; had been pastor of St. John the Baptist in Paris from 1971 until 1993 and attended services there until last month when the archdiocese told him to stop.

Oswald G. Krusing: ordained 1926; died 1995; served at parishes in Kenosha; Clyman; Lyons; New Coeln; Superior; Holy Angels, New Berlin; Sacred Heart, St. Francis; Holy Rosary, Racine; St. Charles Borromeo, Milwaukee; and St. Rita, West Allis.Jerome E. Lanser: ordained 1958; not allowed to function as a priest; accused in a 1992 civil lawsuit of abusing a boy; suit dismissed because statute of limitations had expired.

Eldred B. Lesniewski: ordained 1953; died 1996.

Daniel J. Massie: ordained 1980; not allowed to function as a priest.

Lawrence C. Murphy: ordained 1950; died in 1998.

Michael T. Neuberger: ordained 1962; dismissed from the priesthood by Archbishop Rembert Weakland in the 1990s but has appealed for reinstatement.

Richard W. Nichols: ordained 1958; died 1993.

George A. Nuedling: died 1994; former pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Twin Lakes.

John A. O'Brien: ordained 1964; not allowed to function as a priest.

Donald A. Peters: ordained 1950; not allowed to function as a priest; retired in 1993.

Roger W. Schneider: Left the ministry.

Clarence J. Schouten: Dead.

Vincent A. Silvestri: ordained 1964; died 2000. Served at St. Sylvester, South Milwaukee; St. Mathias, Milwaukee; St. Dominic, Brookfield.Thomas A. Trepanier: ordained 1975; not allowed to function as a priest; resigned as associate pastor St. Dominic, Brookfield in May 2003.

Jerome A. Wagner: ordained 1972; not allowed to function as a priest.

John C. Wagner: ordained 1973; not allowed to function as a priest.

Charles W. Walter: ordained 1974; not allowed to function as a priest.

Sigfried F. Widera: ordained 1967; died 2003. Widera became a priest in the Diocese of Orange, California, in 1976 despite warnings from a Wisconsin bishop that he had abused a boy; was charged with 42 counts of child abuse in California and Wisconsin; jumped to his death from a Mexican hotel room as authorities closed in; U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee could be sued by victims in California.

Read the complete text of Archbishop Timothy Dolan's e-mail to parishioners.


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