Man Wants Former Lodi Pastor on Offender Registry
Abuse Victim Seeks Answers from Diocese

By Samara Kalk Derby
Capital Times [Madison, WI]
June 14, 2007

Chris Leonard, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by the Rev. Kenneth Klubertanz, has a number of questions for Bishop Robert Morlino after the Diocese of Madison permanently removed Klubertanz from the priesthood Tuesday, finding him guilty in an ecclesiastical judicial trial of sexually abusing a minor.

After Klubertanz, former pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Lodi, was accused of abuse in 2002, the diocese placed him on administrative leave.

The diocese conducted the trial and just received official notification from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding a final decision on Klubertanz.

In a letter scheduled to be delivered to Morlino today, Leonard, now 45 and living in Patton, Mo., asks the diocese to place Klubertanz and all other sex offenders in the church on the state sex offender registry immediately.

"Why is Klubertanz being allowed by you to keep his ordained status and retire in comfort?" Leonard asks.

"Here is the information we needed to hear from you," he continues. "Where do you have Klubertanz living right now? Who is supervising him? Has he been ordered into treatment? How many victims have come forward reporting that he sexually assaulted them? When did these reports reach the diocese?" asks Leonard, who claims that he was sexually assaulted by Klubertanz in Janesville when he was 13.

"What did the bishops of the Madison Diocese know about Klubertanz's criminal acts against children?" Leonard's letter asks. "What parishes and schools was he transferred to work in? Has the Dane County district attorney been given full access to his file. ? What disciplinary actions have been taken against any church official who knowingly transferred him or allowed him access to children in his current assignments?"

William Yallaly, associate director of communications for the diocese, said the diocese has a policy of protecting private personnel files.

Peter Isely, Midwest coordinator for Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said he doesn't expect Morlino or other officials in the diocese to answer many of Leonard's questions. He was planning to personally deliver the letter this afternoon to officials at the Bishop O'Connor Pastoral Center. "We would like to directly talk about these things," he said.

"Our concern is that this institution is not being held accountable," Isely said. "This is not acceptable in our opinion, this way of dealing with things."

The opinion took five years and was determined by some mysterious entity in Rome that no one knows about, said Isely, a clinical social worker in Milwaukee.

The "vague, pastoral kinds of platitudes" the diocese gave out Tuesday are useless, he said. "We already knew this. We knew the guy was a sex offender. We knew that a long time ago."

"Klubertanz has not been removed from the clerical state, but he is not assignable to any priestly ministry," according to a press release put out by Brent King, director of communications for the diocese.

The decision requires that Klubertanz never be alone with anyone under 18.

In his letter, Leonard said that the "so-called canonical' process has been long, difficult, archaic, unfair and largely unnecessary. It has been a tremendous burden for my family. It has reopened many wounds and terrible memories."

Meanwhile, Morlino said in a statement: "For those who have been sexually abused by members of the clergy, I sincerely apologize for the suffering you and your families have endured. Sexual crimes perpetrated against children or vulnerable adults by priests are shameful and grievous."



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.