Rev. Michael C. Benham

Summary of Case: Benham was accused in October 2004 of having sexually abused a boy between 1976-1980, beginning when the boy was 9 years old. Benham acknowledged the abuse. The victim reported the abuse to the archdiocese in October 2003, but Benham wasn't removed from ministry until late January 2004. Benham has been laicized.

: 1976


Start Stop Parish Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Milwaukee archbishop was William Edward Cousins (1958-1977), followed by Rembert George Weakland, O.S.B. (1977-2002)

1982 St. John Nepomuk (Bohemian)


A 37 year old man reported to the archdiocese in October 2003 that Benham sexually abused him between 1976-1980, beginnng when the man was 9 years old. Benham acknowledged the abuse. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 1, 2004)

WI 2/2

Parish had a school with 278-236 students.

Benham's victim stated in 2004 that Benham "had a group of kids that he always did stuff with" at St. John's. He said he decided to come forward when he learned that a friend of his attended Benham's parish, and that the priest was "getting to know" the friend's boys.

1982 1987 St. Joseph's High School Kenosha WI faculty member St. Joseph's had 626-400 students.
1987 1988 St. Francis Seminary High School Program Milwaukee WI faculty member St. Francis' had 31 students.
1988 2000 St. Charles Borromeo Burlington WI 1/1 Parish had a school with 246-270 students.


Weakland was replaced by Timothy Michael Dolan (2002-2009)

2004 St. Patrick's (Irish-German) Elkhorn WI 1/1

Parish had a school with 159-149 students and a religious education program with 295-328 students.

Benham is not indexed beyond the 2004 Directory.

Benham was removed from ministry in January 2004, after he acknowledged having sexually abused a young boy between 1976-1980. The victim had reported the abuse to the archdiocese in October 2003.

Benham was fully restricted from priestly ministry, per the archdiocese in 2004. (Archdiocese of Milwaukee website) He was later laicized. (Archdiocese of Milwaukee list updated after 11/27/07)


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1977-2005)

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Benham's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Feb. 16, 2011