Nate's Mission [Milwaukee WI]
May 9, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 05-09-2023
ECA Founding Member
Program Director of Nate’s Mission
Deputy Director of Nate’s Mission
Reverend James E. Connell, J.C.D.
Milwaukee Archdiocese Priest, Former Vice-chancellor, Canon lawyer
Freedom from Religion Foundation Senior Policy Counsel
WHEN: Tuesday, May 9th, 2023, 1:00pm
WHERE: State Capitol Building, State Street entrance, Madison, WI
WHO: Directors of Nate’s Mission, a Wisconsin survivors’ project of the global organization Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA) and the Senior Policy Counsel for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)
WHAT: Press event to release the Open Records Request by Fr. James Connell to Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul and discuss the experience of Wisconsin survivors on the second anniversary of Kaul’s statewide investigation into clergy abuse. A filmed interview with Connell about the filing will be shared and posted online after the event.
WHY: Last week, Fr. James Connell, retired vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a church canon lawyer, filed an official Open Records Request with the Wisconsin Department of Justice regarding the Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul’s “Statewide Inquiry into Clergy and Faith Leader Abuse.”
Connell stated, “I don’t want the Attorney General to get off the hook. He promised he would do something two years ago, and that created hope – a lot of hope. Not just hope for the victim-survivors of clergy abuse, but hope for the people of the state in general.
In the absence of [the Church’s] cooperation…then all the more this is just cover-up. And I guess I would also say in my heart, if that’s what it turns out to demonstrate, then the Department of Justice is cooperating with the cover-up the Church has been doing all these years.”
Last week’s filing, made on behalf of Wisconsin victims of clergy abuse, coincides with the second anniversary of Kaul’s investigation. Connell was supported in his request by two national organizations, Ending Clergy Abuse and The Freedom from Religion Foundation. Typically the DOJ responds to a records request within ten days.
Last month, in an unprecedented act of retaliation, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki removed Connell’s faculties to hear confessions for his public stance advocating for legislation in Wisconsin and elsewhere that would require clergy to join 30 other professions as mandated reporters of child rape and sexual assault, including when disclosed in the confessional.