Op-Ed: Why Flynn Should Withdraw from Race

Urban Milwaukee

July 1, 2018

By State Reps Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent

[Note: This op-ed links to a detailed memo by Taylor and Sargent.]

And why two Democratic legislators felt they must oppose Matt Flynn for governor.

Scott Walker’s devastating actions inspired us to run for state office, and we have seen up close the harmful consequences of his agenda on so many of the things we hold dear. We have been his consistent and outspoken critics, and we will work tirelessly to defeat him in November.

It was after much research, deliberation and some hesitation that we recently called for Matt Flynn to withdraw from Wisconsin’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

We took such an unusual step not because we wanted to, but because we had to. Before anything else, we have to act as human beings. If our actions or inactions are solely guided by party affiliation, we are mimicking the trance we often criticize in our Republican colleagues as they cast vote after harmful vote in lockstep.

Media accounts in May that referenced Flynn’s role in one of the largest coverups of priest child sexual abuse in the country by the Milwaukee Archdiocese and his treatment of the victims spurred us to do our own research.

What we discovered when looking at the electronic files of a handful of priests, consisting of hundreds of documents (thousands more remain that we didn’t review, but are publicly available), was that Flynn played a central role in facilitating the coverup of priest sexual abuse of children. As chief legal counsel to the Milwaukee Archdiocese from 1989-2004, Flynn was aware of priests’ sexual abuse of children, assisted in transferring abusive priests to other parishes, failed to—and sometimes prevented others from—reporting instances of child sexual abuse by priests to law enforcement, paid off priests who went on to pursue professions working with families and children, negotiated settlements with victims requiring secrecy, and filed liens against survivors whose cases fell outside the statute of limitations. We drafted a memo detailing just a portion of these findings. Some of our findings were also independently corroborated by media reports.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.