Elm Grove Priest Removed after Molestation Claim Made

By Annysa Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 26, 2011

An Elm Grove priest has been removed from active ministry while authorities investigate an allegation that he sexually molested a minor in the 1970s.

Father Laurin J. Wenig, who denied the allegation, announced the move in a letter to parishioners at St. Mary's Visitation Catholic Church on Saturday.

The allegation was made to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Victim Assistance office last week and turned over to the Milwaukee County district attorney's office to determine whether charges should be filed. If not, the archdiocese will mount its own investigation, said spokesman Jerry Topczewski.

The sex abuse claim is among a number of old allegations to emerge in recent weeks, likely in response to the archdiocese's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. Bankruptcy acts as a last call for claims against a debtor.

Earlier this month, the archdiocese restricted a retired priest from ministry after he was accused of abusing a minor years ago. The other cases filed with the archdiocese involved clerics already on its list of priests with credible allegations against them.

Attorneys for the victims say they have received dozens of new complaints since the bankruptcy filing.

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