Omaha Priest with State Ties Removed after Allegations

By Annysa Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 19, 2011

A Jesuit priest has been permanently removed from ministry in the Archdiocese of Omaha on an allegation that he had inappropriate contact with a student at Milwaukee's Marquette High School in the early 1980s.

Father Perry Robinson, 69, taught at Marquette for 20 years before he was fired in 1988 for taking inappropriate photographs of boys and men. He was dismissed last month as associate pastor at St. Gerald Parish and barred from all ministry in the archdiocese after a Marquette alumnus, now living in California, reported the incident to Omaha Archbishop George Lucas.

Omaha Chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil said church officials there appear not to have been told about the circumstances surrounding Robinson's Marquette dismissal, or that he was twice sent to a Maryland psychological treatment center, when they agreed to accept him for ministry in the 1980s.

While the latest allegation remains under investigation by the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, McNeil said Robinson will not work again in the Omaha area.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy," McNeil said.

The Jesuits' Milwaukee spokesman, Rory Gillespie, said the order felt the Omaha ministry was appropriate for Robinson - he first served as a mental health chaplain there - and that it would have discussed his history with the church officials in Omaha.

The advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, which released the Omaha documents, delivered a letter to the Jesuits calling on them to turn over all records involving Robinson to civil authorities and publicly identify their offender priests.

Gillespie said the order takes all allegations seriously but has a policy of not naming abusive or accused Jesuits.

SNAP officials say the case illustrates the problem with offenders in religious orders, whose names - unlike diocesan priests in Milwaukee - have not been made public by their superiors.

"Religious orders in Milwaukee represent over 50% of clergy in parishes, hospitals, schools, and there has never been a full accounting of sex offenders in the orders," said SNAP Midwest co-director John Pilmaier.


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