Archbishop Timothy Dolan—Clergy Abuse Fact Sheet

By Peter Isely
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
February 18, 2009

1) Dolan record as Archbishop of Milwaukee, 2002-2009

Note: There are 67 clergy offenders from the Milwaukee archdiocese substantiated child sex assault reports, including 2 deacons and 20 religious order clergy.

In August of 2002, a bishop for less than a year in St. Louis, Dolan was appointed archbishop of Milwaukee, to replace the disgraced Rembert Weakland. Weakland had just been discovered to have paid a former Marquette University seminarian a half a million dollars in hush money for a sexual abuse allegation that Weakland characterized as a sexual relationship.

While in Milwaukee –

  • Dolan has failed to report direct admissions by clergy sex offenders concerning prosecutable cases of child rape. In February of last year, Sr. Norma Gianni was convicted of child sex assault in Milwaukee County after victims went to police. Yet archdiocesan officials, under the direction of auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba, had obtained a previous confession [see article].

  • In March, Fr. Bruce McArthur was sentenced for child sex abuse in Juneau County although McArthur had also admitted to the archdiocese that he had assaulted children in several parishes in Milwaukee and a hospital chaplain West Bend [see article].

  • Dolan is leaving priests or clergy in ministry or publically presenting themselves as priests in the Milwaukee archdiocese, in violation of the 2002 U.S. Bishops Charter to Protect Young Children, including Fr. Joseph Mika, who has admitted to child sex assault while a pastor in the Green Bay diocese and is now living with Dolan’s permission in Milwaukee. Victims groups in Milwaukee are claiming there are more such clergy still working under Dolan [see article].

  • Dolan secretly paid off one of Milwaukee’s most notorious priest child molesters, Fr. Franklyn Becker, in exchange for the priest's signing papers to leave the priesthood. Dolan sent a delegate to Becker to then assure him that the archdiocese would not publicize why he had left the priesthood [see article].

  • In a June deposition released in November, former Milwaukee archbishop Rembert Weakland revealed what had long been suspected: that Dolan’s number two man, Bishop Richard Sklba was his “go to man” in all sex abuse cases and covering up child sex crimes from authorities and parishioners [see article and the relevant page from the Weakland deposition].

  • Dolan has refused to remove Sklba from his post, saying that he has “complete confidence” in Sklba [see article].

  • Dolan, according to Weakland, has never once talked with him about the scores of abusive priests in the archdiocese nor has Dolan read or viewed Weakland’s deposition admitting to concealing and transferring sex offenders to “every parish” in the Milwaukee archdiocese [see article and the relevant page from the Weakland deposition].

  • In September, Dolan told archdiocesan leaders that due to fraud cases filed against abusive priests and their bishops, the archdiocese is going to face a “big financial hit” that is likely, according to archdiocesan officials, to lead to bankruptcy [see article].

  • Dolan has repeatedly lobbied against sexual abuse reforms in Madison, including a bill that would allow childhood victims of sexual abuse by non-blood relatives to bring cases to Wisconsin civil courts [for example, see article].

  • Last year, Dolan permitted a letter to be published in the Catholic newspaper describing clergy child sex abuse victims as “prostitutes” [see memo].

  • Weekly church attendance under Dolan in the Milwaukee archdiocese has dropped every single year and the rate of decrease is increasing at an alarming rate [see press release with links].

Other informative documents from Milwaukee about the clergy abuse crisis and cover up

2) Dolan’s record as Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis, 2001-2002

Before his appointment to Milwaukee, Dolan was briefly auxiliary bishop of St. Louis, where he was put in charge of the abuse response for the archdiocese by Archbishop Justin Rigali, who was subsequently promoted to cardinal archbishop of Philadelphia.

While in St. Louis

  • Dolan left at least three priests in ministry who were charged in civil court with child sex assault, including one, Fr. Thomas Graham, who was later convicted by a jury [see article].

  • Dolan may have failed to supervise Fr. Gary Wolken, a priest sex offender living with Dolan at Our Lady of Sorrows rectory in St. Louis. Wolken was arrested in 2002 for raping and sodomizing a boy from age 7 to 10. Wolken had already been under suspension for child sex abuse [see article].

  • Dolan wrote a letter to the judge at Wolken’s sentencing to keep Wolken from prison, praising Wolken, who was sentenced to 15 years. Dolan refuses to release the letter [see article].

  • Besides Wolken, Dolan was also living at Our Lady of Sorrows with another priest sex offender, Fr. Michael Campbell. Campbell was removed from ministry for substantiated abuse reports in 2002. Dolan praised Campbell to parishioners, saying he trusts him so much he would go to him for confession [see article].

  • After being suspended in March 2002, Dolan's friend Campbell showed up just weeks later, in April, on the altar of a nearby parish (during Holy Week, no less) to the consternation of many parishioners [see article].

  • Dolan failed to meet with abuse victims or reply to direct abuse reports [see article].










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