OF MADISON WI
Accused Priests: 6 (4 with "documented and substantial allegations," and 2 currently being investigated)
Total Priests: NA
Alleged Victims: At least 23
Source of Funds: Approximately $900,000 from insurers, and $700,000 from the diocesan Self Insurance Loss Fund
Diocese in Compliance with Child and Youth Protection Audit
January 6, 2004
The Diocese of Madison has been found to be in compliance with the provisions of the Charter for the Protection of Young People, the Office of Child and Youth Protection announced Tuesday.
A compliance audit was conducted in the Diocese of Madison from August 11-15. 2003
"I am pleased that this diocese has taken steps to be in compliance," said Bishop Robert Morlino. "The bishops of the United States have committed themselves to the protection of young people. I can't think of a group, other than the bishops, that has committed the money, time and energy to deal with this serious issue. But all the work and financial commitment are more than worth it to ensure that children are safe."
Last February, to assure accountability and transparency, the diocese announced its plan to address the problems of sexual abuse of minors.
In recognition of the need for pastoral outreach to victims and survivors of sexual abuse and to the families, Kate Wiskus, the Director of the Office of Pastoral Services, was named the Assistance Coordinator for Victims.
Six members of the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board have served since July 2002 with the responsibility to assess allegations, to offer counsel regarding suitability of clergy for ministry, and periodically to review diocesan policies.
A revised diocesan document to deal with issues of child sexual misconduct was promulgated by Bishop Morlino in November 2003 to include policies regarding abuse of minors and sexual harassment.
Bishop William Bullock, who preceded Bishop Morlino, named four priests against whom verified allegations had been made and revealed the amount of total dollars paid in the diocese in past cases. He assured the priests and people of the diocese that no Diocesan Services Appeal dollars and no restricted or designated funds were used in payments of settlements with victims.
The diocese has knowledge of four diocesan priests from the past 53 years with documented and substantial allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor. None are in active ministry.
They have resigned with full restrictions against any ministry and do not function as priests. In addition, allegations against a fifth priest are under review and in canonical process at the Vatican. The situation of a sixth priest is currently being examined by the Diocesan Review Board.
In the past the diocese has made financial settlements of $1.6 million to 19 victims of sexual abuse for care and counseling. All of these monies came from the Diocesan Self-Insurance Program. Approximately $900,000 came from insurers and $700,000 came from the Self Insurance Loss Fund. None came from the Diocesan Services Appeal or any other restricted funds.
Bishop Morlino reiterated his determination to insure safety for children
and young adults, charity, and where appropriate, restorative justice
for victims, and charity and fairness to accused priests. He reaffirmed
his deep esteem and appreciation for the vast majority of priests who
serve unselfishly and seek to grow in holiness.
I invite you to share the pertinent parts of this Pastoral Clergy Bulletin with your parishioners. I have shared this total letter with our Communications Department and The Catholic Herald. There are several pastoral matters I wish to address in this letter as we prepare to celebrate Ash Wednesday, March 5, 2003. During Lent I urge all of us to enter deeply into the ancient penitential practices of fasting and almsgiving along with an intensified prayer life.
G.I.R.M.: The first item of my clergy letter is General Instruction of the Roman Missal authorized by the Holy See. We studied this document at our annual fall assembly in October this past year. We are now ready to begin its implementation.
I have a cover letter to go along with the full document (copies of which you received last fall at our assembly). The English translation approved by the U.S.C.C.B. in November 2002, is still awaiting final confirmation from the Holy See. We expect publication of the final booklet in late February.
Charter and Norms: The second item is the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was approved at the U.S.C.C.B. fall meeting on November 14, 2002, and the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons were given approval by the Holy See on December 8, 2002, which now have the effect of particular law. I ask that each priest read the documents thoroughly and know what is contained in each. As your Bishop, I have been working toward implementation of the Charter and Norms. Monsignor Paul Swain, Vicar General, is my representative for the Diocese. Mr. Bill Brophy, our Communications Director, is our spokesperson. We are committed to meet all provisions of the Charter and Norms. It is my wish that we do so in large measure by March 1, 2003, the date the Norms are effective. (See pages 16-18 for a complete text of the Norms and Charter [online here].)
1. Each Diocese is to have a Sexual Abuse Review Board made up of at least five members in full communion with the Church. Members of the Sexual Abuse Review Board are: Honorable Roland B. Day, former Chief Justice; Rev. Msgr. James Gunn, priest; Attorney Daniel W. Hildebrand, attorney; Doctor Peter M. Lake, psychiatrist; Ms. Colleen O'Brien, therapist; and Mr. Joseph Tisserand, former police officer. The declared purpose and function of this board is both to review our diocesan sexual abuse policy and to examine any cases of sexual abuse of children or minors by priests, deacons, and Church personnel in the Diocese of Madison.
2. Each Diocese is to provide an assistance coordinator available for victims whose task is to provide aid for any victim and their family.
3. Each Diocese is to provide a "Report Form" for a victim.
4. Each Diocese is to provide an opportunity for the individual victim to speak with the Bishop.
The impact of the sexual abuse crisis has seriously shaken the trust of many within the Church. We, as Church, seek ways to address this crisis in positive and on-going ways.
St. Paul reminds us that we, member for member, belong to Christ. So intimate is our interlocking and linking that if one member suffers, we all suffer.
Someone said recently, and I believe it to be very accurate, no Catholic can afford to be a bystander at this pivotal crisis time in the Church. We must all respond in ways that help heal the victims and their families. We must all respond in healing ways to those who hurt, to those wounded by the scandals. Many of our sister Dioceses have released the names of the priests against whom credible allegations have been made in the hope that by making them known (sometimes and often required by civil law) other victims may come forth to be healed and ministered unto.
I am of the opinion that it is in our best interest as a Diocese to release their names and in the interest of our people of the Diocese, to give an accounting of dollars spent and their financial source. This past week it was reported that the Vatican opened the archives on Pope Pius XII in an effort to remove suspicion of hiding information regarding his relationship with Germany during World War II.
As a Diocese, as Church, we are truly committed to assist victims, to heal them, ourselves, and the larger Church. There is no easy way to do this, but do it we must, and we will.
We realize clearly that the vast majority of priests throughout the Church are good holy men and we must never forget that. But we must also recognize the pain, suffering and deep hurt present in the lives of sexual abuse victims.
I describe the Church in our day, as wounded yet well: wounded because we have been seriously hurt by the scandal; well, because Christ is in his Church and by his grace we move toward total healing. We are, so to speak, in recovery, but much work remains. We must realistically examine and seek the means by which we can bind up the wounds of the victims and heal the scars caused by sexual misconduct of the clergy. I need your assistance in this important work.
I see three main needs of the Church in our day: 1) we need to restore trust; 2) we need to build confidence; and 3) we need to experience the deep joys of Christ in the Church as he heals all of us. As Church we are invited to live the Paschal Mystery of Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection in the deepest way possible.
As Pope John Paul II has said, "we must be confident that this time of trial will bring a purification of the entire Catholic community, a purification that is urgently needed if the Church is to preach more effectively the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all its liberating force. Now you must ensure that where sin increased, grace will all the more abound. (Rom 5:20) So much pain, so much sorrow must lead to a holier priesthood, a holier episcopate and a holier Church." (Address of Pope John Paul II to the Cardinals of the United States, 4, April 23, 2002) Also, our Holy Father has solemnly reminded us, "There is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young." (Pope John Paul II, April 24, 2002) The Holy Father, in saying this, is not abandoning his priests but asking them, calling them, to accept responsibility for their actions.
It appears that there are some areas of confusion on what is meant or not meant by certain terms related to the Charter and/or Norms. The first word is "anonymous." The victim, children or young adults, of sexual abuse in almost all instances wish to remain anonymous to the public. The victims tell Church authorities their name.
This remains their right, but these same victims in order for any action to proceed on their case, must be specific with regard to what happened, with what priest, the approximate date, occasion, time, etc. Anonymous does not mean that an unidentified person calls the Bishop, the Vicar General, or Assistance Coordinator, and says, "I was sexually abused by a priest," names that priest and then hangs up.
That is not what is meant by anonymous. The priest against whom an allegation is made is informed of the allegation, the details, the name and circumstance, but may not publicly identify the name of the victim. We therefore honor their request for confidentiality of their identity.
The second word not always understood is the word "credible." Credible means there is sufficient substantiated evidence that sexual abuse very probably did take place even though it may have been a long time ago. Many people know a priest in his public life and by all the good he has done. The issue is not whether the priest has previously done and is now doing good pastoral work through his priestly ministry; the question is simply: Did sexual abuse, as defined in the Charter and Norms, take place?
Please join me, along with all parishioners, in an earnest, straightforward daily prayer to God asking him to heal, to strengthen, and to bind up the wounds sexual abuse sins have caused in the lives of victims and their families and in the priests themselves.
I ask you to pray for all victims, their families, all priests, and for one another. Prayer is at the heart of our journey and prayer guides each step we take. We remember the restoration journey is long and arduous but, like every journey of a thousand miles, it begins with one step. Make that step in your heart, in prayer, and make that first step a commitment of your will to help restore trust. Prayer alone will not dissolve the crisis but praying on a regular and determined basis will remind us, as we pray in the Liturgy of the Hours: 1) that we may never become hardened by evil; 2) weakened by laziness; and 3) ignorant because of foolishness.
In recognition of the need for pastoral outreach to victims/survivors of sexual abuse and to the families, as outlined in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacon, the Diocese of Madison is committed to providing an assistance coordinator who will manage the outreach provisions agreed upon by the victim and the Diocese.
Upon reflection and consultation, I have asked Mrs. Kate Wiskus from the Office of Pastoral Services to accept responsibility for this coordination of support and pastoral outreach.
The initial contact with the Diocese regarding sexual abuse as well as the coordination of services will be handled by Mrs. Wiskus. The various services provided through outreach such as counseling, support groups, and spiritual assistance, would be provided by other professionals, but the coordination of the services with the victim and/or family would be managed by one office, the Office of Pastoral Services, and one individual, Mrs. Kate Wiskus. This personal management is pastoral in all its sensitivity to the emotions of the victims and families. We are fortunate to have someone willing to accept this role and who is highly qualified.
Mrs. Kate Wiskus understands the issues and has experience in the field of child abuse prevention spanning two states, Iowa and Wisconsin. In 1974 she founded the first child abuse prevention network in Rock County (WI) in collaboration with the Department of Human Services. She worked with area leaders to found a Parents Anonymous group and acted as its first "Buddy." She made numerous presentations to area groups on prevention and on support to victims. After moving to Iowa, she began work there to aid in the prevention of child abuse. Founder of the Cedar County Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse, she provided support to victims and education to the public on child abuse in collaboration with the local Human Services professionals. Her efforts earned her the Governor's Award for Iowa, presented by Governor Terry Branstad.
I have great confidence in Mrs. Wiskus' ability to listen and in her pastoral sensitivity. She is known and respected by both the clergy and the laity of our diocese.
In the 56 years of the Diocese of Madison, according to our file review, the Diocese received knowledge of documented and substantial allegations of sexual abuse of minors against four priests of the diocese while they were in active ministry. They are L. Trainor, M. Trainor, C. Alvarez and A. Adams. None are currently in active ministry. They resigned with no faculties for active ministry and do not function as priests. All alleged incidents occurred a number of years ago.
In addition, allegations against K. Klubertanz are under review and in canonical process. We are sharing this information with the District Attorney of Dane County.
In the past, the Diocese has made financial settlements of approximately $1.6 million to 19 victims of sexual abuse for rehabilitation. All of these monies came from Diocesan Self-Insurance Program. Approximately $900,000 came from insurers and $700,000 came from the Self-Insurance Loss Fund. None came from the Diocesan Services Appeal or other restricted funds. In the future, the Diocese will not enter into any settlement agreements that contain a confidentiality provision. I trust you pastors will reassure your parishioners that this is so, namely that their donations have remained intact.
Next week, in The Catholic Herald, the Diocese will publish its annual financial statement (July 1, 2001-June 30, 2002).
Linking, Clustering and Merging of Parishes: The Diocesan Strategic Plan has called for several more parishes to be linked as the need arises. The Personnel Board has assisted me in making some initial considerations. These will be announced as they develop, and it is our plan to implement these linkages as smoothly as possible and in an informed way for both parishioners and priests. On an interim basis, until July 1, 2003, I have asked Mrs. Kate Wiskus and the Office of Pastoral Services to handle the regular services of the Office of Planning.
Nigerian Priests in Service in the Diocese: As many of you know Archbishop Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri in Nigeria, and I have been in communication with each other. I can now announce the three priests, Father Casimir Chimeziri, Father Anthony Iheanacho and Father Joseph Ononiwu are to return to Owerri, Nigeria in June of 2003 on or near the effective date of priest appointments. Father Nicholas Okere, Father Basil Osuigwe and Father Francis Xavier Ekwugha will remain.
Vocations Office: For the time being I have been assisting the Office of Vocations. Any inquiries regarding vocations will be directed to my office. Until July 1, 2003, I ask that you contact the Office of Pastoral Services, who will then communicate them to me. We will process all applicants until a more permanent arrangement can be made in early July 2003.
Our role as pastors is to pray, share the teachings of the Church regarding a just war and conduct sessions that raise the consciousness of our people.
The Prince of Peace Prayer, which follows, is offered here for your prayerful reflection
Prayer for Peace
Christ, O Prince of Peace,
We offer you our lives and hearts
Father, may we live always docile
(Adapted from Pope John Paul II's
Grace, Mercy, and Peace,
Most Reverend William H. Bullock
Wisconsin Roman Catholic Church Investigation: Dioceses release sexual-abuse data
By Juliet Williams
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.
Priest faces new sex accusations
The lawsuit also accuses the diocese of failing to protect the plaintiff from the priest, the Rev. Kenneth Klubertanz.
A diocese review board has been pondering since July how to deal with two earlier sexual abuse allegations against Klubertanz.
The 46-year-old plaintiff, identified in court papers as "John Doe," says that Klubertanz, while a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Reedsburg, sexually abused him in 1969 and 1970.
The accuser's name is being withheld to protect his family's privacy, said his attorney Jeffrey R. Anderson of St. Paul, Minn. He gave the diocese the man's name. The State Journal, under some circumstances, does not name alleged victims of sexual abuse.
Now living in North Dakota, the man said he became acquainted with the priest while serving as an altar boy.
"He was very personable. He'd rub your back and shoulders. He'd wink at you all the time," the man said. "You'd just think that was the way things were."
Over the next year the friendship grew, he said. Then his parents, devout Catholics, allowed the priest to take him away for the weekend to another parish family's northern Wisconsin cabin. He said that's where the most invasive assaults occurred.
It stopped, he said, "by me never going to church again after that."
Anderson said his client did not report the abuse to officials. The lawsuit alleges that the diocese may have known the priest was a pedophile, but doesn't provide specifics.
Diocesan spokesman Bill Brophy wouldn't comment on the suit because officials have not discussed it with the diocese's attorney. The diocese must file its answer in court, without extensions, by March 3.
On June 9, Bishop William H. Bullock removed Klubertanz from his job as pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Lodi. The removal came after a man alleged that Klubertanz, while at a Janesville church in 1975, had abused him at age 13.
In August, a second man told the diocese that Klubertanz abused him in 1968 in Reedsburg when the accuser was 16.
Klubertanz could not be reached for comment. The priest has left Lodi and is staying with family, Brophy said.
Bullock created the diocese's Review Board on Sexual Abuse in July. The two accusations against Klubertanz were referred to its members, but it has yet to make a recommendation to the diocese, Brophy said.
Bullock also said in November that he would reveal the names of all priests known to the diocese that have been accused of sexually abusing minors. He hasn't so far, but Brophy said he expects the bishop will provide the list by March 1.
Anderson said the lawsuit and five others he filed in Milwaukee County
against the Milwaukee Archdiocese on behalf of alleged victims of the
late Rev. George Nuedling could reverse a 1995 state Supreme Court decision
that makes Wisconsin the only state where it is nearly impossible for
victims to sue the church.
By Pat Schneider
One family's effort to settle a lawsuit in 1995 drew a letter insinuating that they were "evil" for suing the diocese and comparing them to abortion protesters who commit murder for revenge.
"They made you feel shameful for even bringing up the abuse," said a Sun Prairie woman whose brother was one of about a dozen boys who eventually filed suit against the diocese and former priest Michael Trainor, who had been removed from his duties.
A Dane County woman and her husband received a letter from church lawyer Donald Heaney on a settlement offer that warned that "evil begets evil." She said that diocese officials seemed to think they were above the law.
"I knew we weren't evil. Were we evil because we would dare question the authority of the church? That was pretty much how we were brought up," she said this week.
The woman said the utter thoughtlessness of the church became apparent when a form letter sent to her son thanking him for his testimony carried the name of another victim in the salutation.
Madison Diocese spokesman William Brophy said that until a copy was provided Wednesday by The Capital Times, Bishop William Bullock and other diocesan officials had never seen the March 2, 1995, letter that compares the Dane County couple to those who murder doctors who perform abortions.
Brophy said the letter was written by Heaney in his role as attorney for an insurance company involved in the case.
Heaney, of Lathrop and Clark, has represented the diocese in numerous lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct by priests.
In a letter in which he evokes "fundamental Christian principles," Heaney states that he is representing both the diocese and its insurers, and attempting to balance the bishop's pastoral concern with an insurer's reluctance to offer large settlements in cases of "nominal value."
Heaney said in an interview this week he was trying to make the point that "lawsuits are not very well designed to resolve most human problems."
"Why not try to resolve these matters with the resources that churches have - which is essentially spiritual resources?" Heaney said.
Trainor's career in the Madison Diocese ended in 1984 when parents of two boys confronted Bishop Cletus O'Donnell with evidence that Trainor had sexually abused their sons.
Trainor entered a New Mexico facility that treated priest sex abusers, but within months was working in Montana, ministering to families at St. Rose of Lima in the tiny town of Dillon.
The chancellor of the Helena, Mont., diocese confirmed that Trainor worked there as a priest from 1985 to 1991, but church officials there would provide no information on what they knew of Trainor when he arrived there, or why he left.
Trainor resigned from the priesthood in 1991.
O'Donnell died in August 1992 and Bullock was named bishop in April 1993.
Monsignor Paul Swain, a lawyer and vicar who responded in Bullock's stead to The Capital Times' questions on the priest sex abuse issues, said that letters between O'Donnell and the Helena bishop in Trainor's personnel file indicate that the Montana cleric knew of the charges against Trainor.
Nearly a decade passed between a confrontation with O'Donnell - where parents said they were cautioned to keep Trainor's activities secret and were asked to pray for him - and the filing of the first lawsuit in February 1993.
What followed was a three-year legal battle waged by the local blue-chip firm of Lathrop and Clark.
Court records of the proceedings in three cases brought against Trainor and the diocese fill boxes in the clerk's office of the Dane County Circuit Court.
In a series of sworn depositions, the boys who accused Trainor of abuse - men by then, some with families - testified to what emerged as a decade-long pattern of abuse involving boys as young as 9.
One man recalled his shock, fright and embarrassment at the attack when he was 14. "I had always been taught to respect and put the priest up on a pedestal. He was God's right-hand man," he said.
Trainor repeatedly molested youths during his three assignments in the Madison Diocese - at St. Maria Goretti, St. Henry's and St. Thomas Aquinas churches - in settings including a church sacristy, Trainor's living quarters and office, and an area sports club, according to testimony recorded in court documents.
Several boys reported that Trainor abused them on outings. Trainor was taking boys out from the Holy Name Seminary high school so often that priests on the staff complained to the Rev. Michael Burke, rector of the school, that it was disrupting after-school athletic programs and study hall, Burke testified in a June 15, 1995, deposition.
Burke testified that he phoned Trainor and "respectfully asked him not to take the kids out of school." Trainor said "fine," Burke testified.
Burke, who is now pastor at St. Maria Goretti, said at the time he had no concern that anything else was going on, but by the time of his testimony did not doubt that Trainor had been sexually abusing boys. "I just don't have any positive proof," he said.
Holy Name Seminary was closed in June 1995 by Bullock, in the face of vocal opposition by students and their families. Bullock said the seminary was too expensive to continue operating, especially since so few boys continued on to the priesthood.
Swain said this week that the school's closing was not linked to abuse of students there as far as he knew.
Plaintiffs contended in their lawsuits that diocesan officials knew or should have known that Trainor had a proclivity to abuse minors.
When Heaney invited several plaintiffs to point to any evidence that church officials knew of the abuse before May 1984, they could not.
But the Sun Prairie woman tried to. She and her mother recounted a 1982 meeting with the late Rev. Henry Lauters, pastor of St. Henry's church in Watertown, in affadavits filed with the courts.
When the mother told Lauters she wanted to file a complaint against Trainor for abusing her son, Lauters accused her of lying, then opened a door. There stood Trainor.
Trainor came in and accused her son of defaming his character, she testified.
Lauters then patted her on the shoulder, she testified, and told her she was "taking it out on men" because of problems in her marriage.
Her daughter said the family didn't even think of bringing criminal charges then because of the "hush-hush" aura surrounding sexual abuse by priests at that time.
"It was like we were the ones sinning," she recalled, "not Father Mike. I think they are a bunch of hypocrites. If you are here to do God's work, how do you protect something he frowns on?"
Members of several families testified that in 1984 O'Donnell rebuffed their efforts to identify for him other boys they feared might also have been abused.
"He didn't want to turn over that rock," one father remarked.
A decade later the names of three more priests accused of sexual abuse of minors over the years were revealed by their fellow clerics in testimony in the Trainor case.
Swain said this week that no priest accused in Madison of sexual abuse of a minor is active as a priest - anywhere.
Shortly after his arrival in Madison in 1993, Bullock developed a policy on responding to sex abuse claims, as had been recommended in a national meeting of U.S. bishops the year before.
The policy was the basis of the diocese's response to a '70s-era allegation of abuse revealed in late 1993. The priest was suspended, Swain said. Police were not called in, he said, because so much time had elapsed since the abuse. The diocese is considering establishing a community board to review allegations of sex assault, which Swain said would be in addition to referring complaints to civil authorities.
A clearer idea of the makeup of the board might emerge after the meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, which will focus on the national sex abuse scandal.
Swain acknowledged that settlements were paid by the Madison Diocese in some sexual abuse cases.
The diocese declined this week to check its records to tally the amount paid out, but correspondence in the court records of the Trainor cases refers to a rejected offer of $110,000 in one lawsuit.
Swain made a point of saying that any such settlement would not have come from the Sunday collection basket or appeals for special missions. "There is kind of a moral understanding that if people give money to support the Hispanic ministry, that's where the money is going to go," he said, suggesting an example.
The bishops also likely will address confidentiality agreements at their meeting, Swain said.
Heaney said such agreements could be dissolved only if all parties - typically a victim, the diocese, an insurer and a perpetrator - agree. "It can be very hard to accomplish that," he said. Insurance companies, for example, may not want to invite lawsuits by revealing the amount of a settlement.
"The secrecy the church has maintained regarding pedophile priests prohibits survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families from healing," said Patty Gallagher Marchant, a member of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. Marchant, now living in Milwaukee, is a survivor of child sexual abuse in the Madison Diocese and under a confidentiality agreement is forbidden to name the abuser.
Marchant says confidentiality agreements are intended to silence victims. "On top of that, secrecy agreements support harboring criminal behavior," she said.
Swain said that in the past the church has been accused of relying too much on lawyers and insurance agencies and psychiatrists in tailoring its response to priest sex abuse. "I'm hopeful going through all this will cleanse us in a way that allows us to be strong as a church, and restore a pastoral response to the balance."
The Dane County couple who sued after their son's abuse and received the letter shaming them sometimes wondered if they were doing the right thing, the wife admitted.
"It caused a great deal of emotional stress," she recalled. "But then this letter came, and as bizarre and horrendous as it was, it told us we did the right thing."
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