Diocese of Green Bay included in potential clergy abuse evidence brought forth

WLUK - Fox 11 [Green Bay WI]

January 18, 2022

By Charlee Rubesky

On Tuesday, representatives of Nate’s Mission marched up the steps of the Wisconsin state Capitol to deliver alleged documents of clergy abuse to Attorney General Josh Kaul.

Nate’s Mission is an organization dedicated to ending clergy abuse in religious organizations.

“Thousands of pages of internal church files, memorandum, minutes of meetings, cases concerning the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the state,” Nate’s Mission program director Peter Isely said.

These documents include allegations involving the Diocese of Green Bay.

Isely claims Catholic leaders allegedly destroyed criminal and corporate evidence of fraud in the organization.

“This was done in 2007, that was then Bishop (David) Zubik. He ordered the systematic destruction of virtually all evidence of criminal behavior done by dozens of Green Bay priests in his diocese,” Isely said.

Nate’s Mission says the documents it has collected cannot be viewed by the public at this time.

The Diocese of Green Bay responded with this statement:

The Diocese of Green Bay understands through a press release issued today by Nate’s Mission, that certain documents were delivered to State Attorney General Josh Kaul’s office related to his review of clergy sexual abuse. Being that this is part of an ongoing review, and since we are not aware of the content of these documents, we will reserve any further comment at this time.

We wish to emphasize that the Diocese of Green Bay remains dedicated to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The diocese has, over the past several decades, implemented a variety of tools to ensure the safety of every person in the diocese, including background checks, rigorous safe environment training and education, mandatory reporting mechanisms and outreach to survivors of abuse. As part of this effort, in the fall of 2018, the diocese engaged an independent investigative firm to conduct an outside review of the files of all diocesan priests and deacons. Their review led to the release of our list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in January 2019. We will continue to walk with victims/survivors in their process of healing.

AG Kaul has been investigating reports of clergy and faith leader abuse across Wisconsin since April.

Kaul said in a news conference on April 27, 2021, “We’re conducting this review to get greater accountability and to promote healing for victims. And we’re conducting this review to improve the response to abuse and hopefully to prevent future cases of abuse.”

Isely wants the attorney general to further investigate the alleged destruction of documents.

Isely said, “Was it illegal? Did it break Wisconsin state law? Did it violate charitable trust laws in the state of Wisconsin?”