Group Calls for More Transparency on Handling of Priest Sex Abuse Cases

By Annysa Johnson
Milwauke Journal Sentinel
October 14, 2010

Victims of clergy sex abuse are using the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's upcoming settlement talks with 15 victims to call for more transparency in its handling of such cases - including those of religious order priests, over which the archdiocese has long said it has no control.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Thursday that they would ask Archbishop Jerome Listecki, by the start of Monday's talks, to:

Post the names of the five worst offenders from local religious orders - groups such as the Jesuits or Salvatorians - on the archdiocese's website.

Post the summary report sent to the Vatican, a document known as the votum letter, outlining the offenses of four of the archdiocese's most notorious abusers: Fathers Franklyn Becker, David Hanser, Lawrence Murphy and Richard Nichols.

Notify Gov. Jim Doyle of his intention to place clerical abusers on the state's sex offender registry.

"These documents are so important to parents and loved ones," said SNAP co-director John Pilmaier, who was molested by Hanser when he was a second-grader at St. John Vianney Catholic School.

"Our parents loved the church, supported the church, gave their lives to the church, and we're continually told, 'You don't have a right to this information,' " he said.

Listecki was en route to the annual Red Mass for attorneys and others in the legal profession and has not yet seen the SNAP letter, said Jerry Topczewski, his chief of staff.

The diocese has long maintained that it has no authority to force religious orders to identify their offenders, although former Archbishop Timothy Dolan had asked them to do so.

Legislation to place offending priests on the sex offender registry has failed in the past, Topczewski said.

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