Lesson from Lacrosse Priest Case: There Can Be No Delays in Reporting Sex Assault to Law Enforcement

October 27, 2010

The most important lesson in the acquittal of Fr. Donkor-Baine of fourth degree sexual assault today in LaCrosse is that those who believe they have been criminally harmed need to come quickly forward to police and that institutions like the diocese of La Crosse must immediately report credible allegations of assault to authorities. The near three month delay before the evidence in this case was in the hands of the police should be unacceptable to everyone involved. The first person at an alleged crime scene should be law enforcement and the first ones taking statements and gathering evidence are police. Any delays makes prosecuting and defending charges much more difficult if not impossible.

We hope that this case does not deter anyone who has experienced, witnessed or suspects sexual assault to report to law enforcement. And that the diocese of La Crosse, as well, will make a public commitment to finally turn over all evidence and reports of sex crimes clergy to civil authorities.

Priest found not guilty of assault La Crosse Tribune


October 19, 2010

Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director – CONTACT: 414.429.7259/

Day after mediation, Listecki praises Milwaukee Bishop who covered up child sex crimes as “good and faithful servant”

Says Bishop Sklba will remain active and working in archdiocese after retirement

Sklba’s explanation for his complicity with priests who sexually molest children: a “paschal mystery”

If there was ever an illustration as to why the archdiocese of Milwaukee deserves to be dragged into court it is in today’s astonishing statement by Archbishop Jerome Lisetcki praising Milwaukee auxiliary bishop Richard Sklba as a “good and faithful servant.” Listecki’s effusive praise of Sklba was posted today in a statement on the home page of the archdiocesan website. It is alongside one by Sklba, whose mandatory retirement letter to Pope Benedict was accepted this week. Sklba turned 75 last month.

Sklba, as is widely known, ran the cover up of child sex crimes by dozens of Milwaukee clergy for decades.

Milwaukee emeritus archbishop Rembert Weakland, when asked under oath in a court ordered deposition to describe Sklba’s role, said Sklba was “the go to guy” on “all abuse cases.” And in court ordered released church records so far, Sklba has clearly emerged as the chief enforcer of the cover up of some of Milwaukee’s worse offender clergy, including: Frs. George Nuedling, Peter Burns, William Effinger, Dennis Pecore, Edmund Haen, Simon Planthingal, Edwin Lesnewski, Fredrick Bistricky, Franklyn Becker, David Hanser, Lawrence Murphy, Joseph Turner, and Sr. Norma Giannini. In some cases, like Peter Burns, Sklba directly made the decision to keep the priest in ministry and not inform the parish after finding out that the priest was actively sexually assaulting children. Not long after the Burns decision one of the priest’s young victims committed suicide.

Listecki’s praise of Sklba today derives from Mathew’s Gospel (25:23) and the famous parable of the talents. In it, the servant who wisely invests money given to him by his master is rewarded: ”His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Sklba, of course, was in charge of the secret authorization of, among other things, Weakland’s hush money settlement of nearly half a million dollars for an abuse claim. Indeed, according to the archdiocese, some $30 million dollars of charitable contributions has been spent on abuse and fraud costs because of Sklba and Weakland.

Now, Sklba can join his cover up confederate in comfortable retirement with happy honors heaped upon him by the current archbishop. Weakland, of course, has been forever immortalized by a bronze relief depicting him with little children in the Milwaukee catholic cathedral and the cathedral pastoral center is named after him. And Sklba can continue to preach and teach, in increasingly empty archdiocesan churches, about the “paschal mysteries” of covering up for priest rapists.

Last week, when announcing his intentions to reverse course and start mediating with victims in current fraud suits against the archdiocese, Listecki wrote: “What we have learned about the human damage and suffering of the victims/survivors makes it clear that our goal must be to find ways to bring peace and comfort to these individuals and their families.” And he told the Catholic Herald: “We’re looking for some kind of reconciliation and the best ways to minister to victim/survivors. We have a responsibility, as an archdiocese, to minister to victim/survivors and their families.”

Listecki has said he is looking for a new “pathway to healing.” Preparing Richard Sklba for sainthood by calling him “selfless,” “dedicated” and one who “loves the church in Southeastern Wisconsin” is a pretty strange healing path to truth and justice.


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