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DIOCESE OF LA CROSSE WI

Accused Clerics: 28 (of which allegations were substantiated against 10; of that 10, one was not a priest of the diocese)
Total Priests: 705 (of which 478 diocesan priests, 187 religious order priests, and 40 deacons)
Allegations: 58 (of which allegations against 3 were "withdrawn" or the priest was "exonerated"; 24 were unsubstantiated)
Cost: $115,807 (of which $15,807 for counseling alleged victims, and $100,000 for a settlement of a claim against Fr. Bruce Ball)
Source of Funds: Diocesan funds covered the counseling, and insurers covered the settlement

Diocese releases abuse statistics

http://www.dioceseoflacrosse.com/whats_new/john_jay.htm

On January 6, 2004, the Diocese of La Crosse released its statistics regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Following is the information:

On Friday, Feb. 27, the results of a national study on the nature and scope of the clergy sex abuse scandal will be made public. The study, compiled by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was commissioned by the U.S. bishops as part of their implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The statistics for the Diocese of La Crosse reveal that, out of 705 clergy who have served in the diocese between 1950 and 2002, there have been 10 individuals (including one who was not a priest of the diocese) with substantiated allegations against them. The result is that only 1.4 percent of the total clergy population in that time period had substantiated allegations. The Diocese has provided $15,807.38 in funds for counseling assistance. The Diocese of La Crosse has not entered into any financial settlements or confidentiality agreements. Assistance has been made available in appropriate circumstances based upon need, not culpability of the Diocese or whether the allegation is substantiated.

The Diocese maintains that even one instance of abuse of a child is too many. Sadly, we cannot change history. However, the Diocese of La Crosse pledges to do everything in its power to keep our children safe, to restore trust, and to ensure that our churches, school and institutions are safe and sacred places for our children and young people.

DIOCESE OF LA CROSSE
ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
1950-2002

Total number of: Diocesan Priests 478
  Religious Order Priests 187
  Deacons 40
TOTAL CLERICS 1950-2002   705
Total of 58 allegations against 28 clerics
Allegations substantiated 31
Allegations unsubstantiated 24
Allegations withdrawn or completed exonerated 3
Allegations substantiated against 10 clerics
PERCENTAGES    
705 Clerics 10 substantiated abusers 1.4 percent
28 clerics accused 10 substantiated 35.7 % substantiated
    64.3 % unsubstantiated
58 Allegations 31 substantiated 53.4 % substantiated
    46.6% unsubstantiated
Total amount of Diocesan dollars paid for counseling to alleged victims of abuse between 1950-2002: $15,807.38.  (Assistance has been made available in appropriate circumstances based upon need, not culpability of the Diocese or whether the allegation is substantiated.)


Report details sex abuse numbers

By Gayda Hollnagel
La Crosse Tribune
January 9, 2004

http://www.rickross.com/reference/clergy/clergy225.html

The Diocese of La Crosse released statistics this week showing that from 1950 to 2002 it received 58 allegations of child sexual abuse against 28 priests.

Thirty-one accusations were substantiated against 10 priests or other clerics.

The report said 705 clerics, including 478 diocesan priests, 187 religious order priests and 40 deacons served in the diocese during the 52-year period.

Of the 58 allegations, 24 were unsubstantiated, and three were completely withdrawn or exonerated, said James Birnbaum, the diocesan attorney.

The report was released along with information about how the diocese fared in an audit report released Tuesday on how dioceses nationwide are complying with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in June 2002.

La Crosse was among 20 dioceses cited as being not in full compliance with the document, a designation being disputed by Bishop Raymond L. Burke and other diocesan leaders.

Bill Ryan, spokesman for the conference of U.S. bishops, said the designation was not meant to imply the La Crosse diocese wasn't complying with the charter.

"It's 93 percent compliant with the charter, at least," he said. "The presumption is the rest is under way."

Ryan said the area of non-compliance involves Article 12 in the document which calls for dioceses to provide training about sexual abuse for clergy, staff, diocesan employees, volunteers and children. Ryan said he didn't know exactly what portion of the article was a concern.

However, diocesan officials said Tuesday that the issue is providing training for children. The diocese did not have a specific program at the time of the audit in September 2003, but has since adopted one. Officials have said they expect the training to be completed by the end of the school year.

Although the audit report listed the diocese as also being non-compliant in completing background checks of all adults and children who have regular contact with children, Ryan said information he had indicated that the diocese has complied.

"If there is a mistake, obviously the office will correct it," he said, referring to the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, which oversees the charter.

The auditors are expected to release a report on Feb. 27 that will give precise numbers of all cases involving clergy nationwide since 1950.

Burke said he wanted the diocese's numbers released now because he leaves the diocese later this month and will be installed Jan. 26 as Archbishop of St. Louis.

The 10 substantiated abusers comprise 1.4 percent of the total clerics serving La Crosse since 1950, Birnbaum said. "When we're talking numbers, even one case is not something to be proud of, but to the extent you can be proud of a record, we are," he added.

Bishop Burke said of the 10 cases all were in the fairly distant past, except for a case in 2001 involving a priest from a separate religious group who was working in the diocese. The Rev. Timothy E. Svea, formerly of Wausau, was a priest with the Institute of Christ the King, a nondiocesan international religious group based in Italy.

The diocese had two well-publicized cases of child sexual abuse by priests in the 1990s, including one involving decades-old accusations against the late Rev. Thomas E. Dempsey, a priest then serving in the Archdiocese of Boston, where complaints about diocesan mishandling of sex abuse cases first surfaced in 2002.

The second case involved the late Bruce Ball, a La Crosse native who was charged in incidents in 1991 while he was a pastor of a parish in Colby, Wis.

The report released this week said the diocese paid out $15,807 for counseling alleged victims of abuse between 1950 and 2002. The assistance was available based on need, not culpability of the diocese or whether the allegation was substantiated, Birnbaum said.

In 2002, Burke told the Tribune the money for counseling came from the Bishop's Emergency Fund, not parish or general diocesan funds. Burke also said the diocesan insurance carrier paid out about $100,000 to settle a 1994 civil claim against Ball, who was removed from the priesthood after his conviction. Burke said that claim was the only claim ever paid by the carrier.

The diocese has had a formal sexual abuse policy since 1988 that was last updated in 1997. That policy covers all diocesan employees and volunteers.


Local dioceses already released abuse statistics

By Gayda Hollnagel
La Crosse Tribune
February 27, 2004

http://www.lacrossetribune.com/articles/2004/02/27/faith/00lead.txt

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for the Protection of Children and Young People is scheduled to release national statistics on diocesan sexual abuse claims and costs since 1950 on Friday.

The Feb. 27 report is expected to be an unprecedented accounting of abuse claims nationwide and provide a more clear picture of how extensive sex abuse accusations against Roman Catholic clergy have been over the past five decades.

Some estimates have put the total numbers up in the 3,000 to 4,000 range based on partial counts of accusations in dioceses, like La Crosse, that already released their information.

La Crosse's information came out in early January prior to the departure of Bishop Raymond L. Burke, who was installed Jan. 26 as archbishop of St. Louis. Burke wanted the information made public before he left the diocese.

The report was released along with information about how the diocese fared in a audit report on how dioceses nationwide are complying with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in June 2002. La Crosse was among 20 dioceses cited as being not in full compliance with the document, but the citation later was determined to be in error and the diocese's name was removed from the list.

For those of you who missed the Tribune story in January, this might be a good time to recap the La Crosse diocesan sexual abuse report, which showed that from 1950 to 2002 it received 58 allegations of child sexual abuse against 28 priests, with 31 accusations substantiated against 10 priests or other clerics.

The report said 705 clerics, including 478 diocesan priests, 187 religious order priests and 40 deacons served in the diocese during the 52-year period.

Of the 58 allegations, 24 were unsubstantiated, and three were completely withdrawn or exonerated, diocesan attorney James Birnbaum said at the time.

The 10 substantiated abusers comprise 1.4 percent of the total clerics serving La Crosse since 1950, Birnbaum said.

Burke said the 10 cases all were in the fairly distant past, except for a 2001 case involving a priest from a separate religious group who was working in the diocese. The Rev. Timothy E. Svea, formerly of Wausau, was a priest with the Institute of Christ the King, a nondiocesan international religious group based in Italy.

The diocese had two well-publicized cases of child sexual abuse by priests in the 1990s, including one involving decades-old accusations against the late Rev. Thomas E. Dempsey, a priest then serving in the Archdiocese of Boston, where complaints about diocesan mishandling of sex abuse cases first surfaced in 2002. The second case involved the late Bruce Ball, a La Crosse native who was charged in incidents in 1991 while he was a pastor of a parish in Colby, Wis.

The report said the diocese paid out $15,807 for counseling alleged victims of abuse between 1950 and 2002. The assistance was based on need, not culpability of the diocese or whether the allegation was substantiated, Birnbaum said.

In 2002, Burke told the Tribune the money for counseling came from the Bishop's Emergency Fund, not parish or general diocesan funds. Burke also said the diocesan insurance carrier paid out about $100,000 to settle a 1994 civil claim against Ball, who was removed from the priesthood after his conviction. He said that claim was the only claim ever paid by the carrier.

The Diocese of Winona, Minn., also released its numbers early, listing 48 allegations against 13 priests. Three allegations were shown to be false and 12 were withdrawn. The last case of abuse in the Winona diocese was in 1984, Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington said in a report in the diocesan newspaper in September 2003.

Winona diocesan insurance carriers have paid $3.7 million in settlements in the past 15 years, with $3.5 million of that paid before 1993 in a case against one accused perpetrator. During the same period, the diocese itself paid $1.2 million in legal costs and settlements with all but $100,000 going to victims of the same perpetrator before 1993. Although the diocese did not name the perpetrator, Tribune files indicate the case referred to involved the Rev. Thomas Adamson, who was accused of multiple incidents over a number of years but was never prosecuted because the criminal statute of limitations had run out. The Adamson case and civil legal actions pertaining to it were heavily publicized for about a decade in Minnesota and elsewhere in the nation.

Gayda Hollnagel can be reached at ghollnagel@lacrossetribune.com or (608) 791-8224.



Wisconsin Roman Catholic Church Investigation: Dioceses release sexual-abuse data

By Juliet Williams
Associated Press, carried in St. Paul Pioneer Press
February 26, 2004

http://www.twincities.com/mld/pioneerpress/news/
local/states/wisconsin/8041525.htm

MILWAUKEE — More than 100 Catholic clergy members in Wisconsin have had proven claims they sexually abused children since 1950, according to figures released by the state's five dioceses.

The reports from dioceses in Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Superior show at least 112 priests or clergy members have had substanti-ated allegations of child abuse against them. The dioceses said they have identified at least 323 claims of abuse, including at some of the state's religious orders.

The dioceses released the numbers before a comprehensive report due Friday that will detail such allegations nationwide from 1950 to 2002.

The study, commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and done by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, will tally the number of victims and perpetrators in dioceses nationwide.

In Wisconsin, however, not all dioceses included figures for religious orders that serve independently within their areas, so the numbers are incomplete. The religious orders will be reported separately in the national study.

The national study will not break down the results by diocese, and the dioceses were not required to make their reports public, but did so in an effort to be transparent.

"The most deplorable part of this entire report is the damage done to the innocent lives victimized by this abuse," wrote Superior Bishop Raphael M. Fliss in a letter published in the Catholic Herald.

The reports showed:

• The state's largest diocese, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, reported 131 victims of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy by 45 diocesan priests between 1950-2002.

• In Green Bay, the diocese reported 59 allegations of sexual abuse by 35 diocesan priests during the period.

• Madison diocese spokes- man Bill Brophy said there were 19 victims of sexual abuse by four diocesan priests from 1950-2002.

• La Crosse had 55 allegations involving 10 clergy members. La Crosse's numbers include religious order clergy.

• The Diocese of Superior said it knew of two abuser priests and five victims during the 52-year span. It also included religious order clergy.

• St. Norbert Abbey, a religious order, has revealed independently that 16 of 267 priests who served there had been accused of sexual misconduct with children during that establishment's 111 years. A report said there were 54 allegations, nearly half of them against two priests.

Each diocese used its own standards to decide which figures to report.

Peter Isely, a Milwaukee spokesman for the victims group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the numbers don't reflect the true scope of the problem, because none of the church books were analyzed by outsiders.

"Why do they keep hiding this, in saying this is the number, when it's not the full number? If they're concerned about safety and not public relations, why would they do that?" Isely said Tuesday.

He also criticized the dioceses for failing to name all accused clergy and say which parishes they served.

"If the concern is public safety, you'd want to know the names and where have they been?" he said. "That's what people want to know: Has a sex offender been in my parish or my church?"

The national study was authorized by bishops in an effort to restore trust in their leadership following waves of revelations about abusive priests. The report could produce a much higher number of victims and abusers in the Catholic Church than has ever before been reported.

A draft of the survey viewed by CNN said 4,450 of the 110,000 U.S. clergy who served since 1950— about 4 percent — were accused of molesting minors, although not all the claims are likely to be deemed credible. The draft report also said there were 11,000 abuse claims filed in that time.

As well as the number of abusers and victims, the dioceses were required to report the amount of money they have paid to settle allegations of abuse.

The Wisconsin reports also showed:

• Green Bay paid out about $1.35 million, mostly through insurance, including more than $1 million for three cases involving one priest in the 1980s who has served prison time.

• La Crosse Diocese had not made any settlement payments, but it has spent about $15,000 on counseling.

• Madison paid out $1.6 million in settlements to its 19 abuse victims, spokesman Bill Brophy said.

• As of January 2003, Milwaukee paid $4 million in settlements with 29 victims, and said it spent another $2.3 million in related costs, including counseling. Insurance paid about $3 million. The figure does not include $450,000 the archdiocese paid to a man who claimed he was abused by former Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

• Superior paid out $542,000 in settlements, $482,000 of it by insurance, and spent more than $70,000 in legal fees. It also revealed it had spent about $200,000 for psychological treatment of two priests before it knew they were abusers.

Isely said the accounting of abuse should remind church leaders of their responsibility to negotiate fairly with sex-abuse victims.

"Hopefully, this study is going to press upon the bishops in Wisconsin that they've got to bring resolution to the victims in the state," Isely said.


 

 
 

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