Elm Grove Priest Steps Aside Amid Allegations

By Michele Fiore
Today's Tmj
February 27, 2011

ELM GROVE -- Sexual abuse allegations have surfaced against a priest.

Reverend Laurin Wenig is voluntarily stepping aside from his duties at St. Mary's Visitation Parish, while the Milwaukee Archdiocese investigates a claim, dating back abut 35 years.

Wenig is denying the allegations. According to a letter distributed at mass Saturday, the case is being referred to the authorities for initial investigation.

Dear People of St. Mary's Visitation Parish,

It is with deep and personal sadness that the following news is being conveyed to you this weekend by Deacon David Zimprich, an official with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Last week, someone made an allegation of sexual abuse against me, dating back to a parish where I served over three and a half decades ago.

I absolutely deny this claim. I share this information with you because, as your pastor, I want to be honest and forthright about what is happening.

As your pastor, I want you to understand what is now taking place.

Even though I deny the allegation against me, I know that the Archdiocese is obligated to handle these matters appropriately. There are policies that the Archdiocese follows in such situations. I support these policies as difficult as they may be for me personally. In this case, the allegation has been referred to civil authorities for initial review.

According to this policy, I must step away for a time from my active ministry at the parish until the matter is settled. You cannot believe how difficult this is for a pastor to leave his family, even on a temporary basis.

In my absence, Deacon Richard Piontek will fulfill the pastoral and administrative needs of the parish with the assistance of Deacon Chuck Kustner. Rev. James Kimla will also be available. I am deeply grateful to them for their assistance at this difficult time.

I ask for your prayers of support.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. Laurin J. Wenig

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