Accuser of Elm Grove Priest Speaks Publicly

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2011

A man who last month accused an Elm Grove priest of abusing him in the 1970s said he was prompted to speak publicly about the matter Tuesday by the priest's continued denial of alleged improper conduct.

Anthony Orlando, 50, of West Allis appeared at his lawyer's office in Milwaukee. He said Father Laurin Wenig abused him while Wenig was serving at St. Nicholas parish when Orlando was 12 or 13 years old. The abuse occurred at the church and at an area athletic club, Orlando said.

Wenig, the pastor at St. Mary's Visitation Catholic Church, was removed from active ministry last month after Orlando first made his accusation privately to Milwaukee Archdiocese officials.

In a letter Feb. 26 to his parishioners, Wenig said he absolutely denied the claim of abuse.

Orlando, a flooring installer, said he came forward because "I am alarmed and worried that other kids are at risk from Wenig," citing reports in the Catholic Herald publication about a St. Mary's Visitation parishioner dropping cookies at Wenig's condo with her 9-year-old son.

The Milwaukee County district attorney's office has declined to prosecute Orlando's claim because it is barred by the statute of limitations.

Investigators hired by the archdiocese will now complete an investigation that could either substantiate Orlando's claim or clear Wenig. A spokesman for the archdiocese said there is no timeline for completion.


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