Priest Sex Allegations Mishandled by District Attorney's Office

Northland's News Center
April 17, 2010

77 year-old, retired priest Father Bob Urban of the Superior Catholic Diocese is under investigation for possible sexual misconduct with a minor, and the Douglas County District Attorney said his office did not inform him of the initial report from the diocese.

According to Richard Lyons, Director of Administrative Services for the Diocese of Superior, lawyers representing the diocese let the Douglas County's District Attorney's Office know about the allegations as soon as they were brought to their attention on March 30.

"As soon as we had the report, we had to act on it," Lyons said.

Lyons added that a lawyer representing the Diocese had contacted the District Attorney's Office again on April 1, and another time on April 14, but received no response during all three attempts.

"It would appear that the contacts were not passed on in the office," Lyons said, adding "Anytime we get information that may have involved a minor, it's our obligation to report."

Indeed, District Attorney Dan Blank said the information was not passed on to him from within his office when the reports in question were made.

"It's just unfortunate, internally in the D.A.'s office that I wasn't brought up to speed right away, but now I am," Blank said in an interview at the City of Superior Government Center today.

In an interesting twist, Superior Police say the alleged victim of the reported allegations may actually have been an adult at the time of the alleged misconduct.

In a press release dated April 14, Superior Police Captain Chad LaLor informed the public of the department's "active investigation" into "allegations of potentially inappropriate sexual conduct."

However, Lalor also wrote in the press release "The alleged victim of the original report allegations is an adult, and the allegations appear to be dated when the alleged victim would have been an adult."

Catholic Diocese officials are tight-lipped about the ongoing investigation and wouldn't say who had filed the initial complaint.

"It was a second-hand story that may, or may not have happened," said Lyons.

As for the mishandling of the complaint, District Attorney Dan Blank says it shouldn't affect the pending investigation.

"it's in the hands of law enforcement, so whatever happened in our office is unfortunate, but will not impact the investigation," Blank said.

According to Superior Police, no more information is available at this time.

According to Lyons, Father Urban has been officially prevented from engaging in Ministry within the Superior Catholic Diocese since April 30.

The Catholic Diocese of Superior includes 16 counties in northern Wisconsin, and has a Catholic population of over 78,000.

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