Wisconsin Catholic school teacher accused of sex abuse passed 11 background checks, officials say

Green Bay Press Gazette

August 29, 2019

By Haley BeMiller and Duke Behnke

Officials at a Wisconsin Catholic school insist they were unaware of sexual abuse allegations against a former teacher and Franciscan brother who came to the state after serving in Mississippi.

St. John Nepomucene Catholic School in Little Chute, which operates under the purview of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, issued a statement saying Paul West passed background checks before and after the school hired him in 1999.

Meanwhile, an Appleton-area police department confirmed it’s investigating West, and a group of clergy abuse survivors has called for a federal probe of allegations that he transported at least one child across state lines to sexually assault him.

The developments came in the wake of an investigation by The Associated Press published this week that revealed West, then a member of the Franklin-based Franciscan Friars of the Assumption, was accused of sexually and physically abusing three boys while they were students at St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood, Mississippi — including during summer trips to Wisconsin.

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