Waukesha Priest Put on Leave after Sexual Assault Allegation
By Meg Jones
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 18, 2012
A Catholic priest in Waukesha County is on temporary administrative leave after allegations of child sexual assault.
Father Mark Molling of St. Paul Parish in Genesee Depot was placed on leave while the Archdiocese of Milwaukee investigates an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor in the mid-1990s, according to an email sent by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.
In the email, Listecki writes that Molling denies the allegation. The allegations were reported to the Waukesha County district attorney's office, which declined to file charges.
The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests reports that Molling has worked as a resident chaplain at state juvenile corrections facility Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales.
"The way the diocese made the statement, it's unclear if the DA declined to prosecute because the statute of limitations ran out or if there were other problems," John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin director, said Sunday.
The report of the alleged sexual abuse by Molling was filed with the federal bankruptcy court as part of the Archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy claims process. Before the Feb. 1 deadline, 570 claims of sexual abuse by individual victims were filed, and Molling appears to be one of at least 100 unidentified persons accused of committing at least 8,000 instances of sexual abuse against children in the archdiocese, according to SNAP.
"We're concerned that if there are 100 unidentified offenders, who are the other 99? Are they deceased, are they still working with children or families or do they have another career? These are all questions Listecki hasn't answered yet," Pilmaier said.
Molling's parishioners were notified over the weekend of his temporary leave. Listecki's email also was sent to priests throughout the archdiocese and staff members, said Julie Wolf, archdiocese spokeswoman.
Listecki wrote in the email: "Father Molling denies the allegation, and I must remind everyone that no substantiation of the allegations has occurred. An investigation will move forward using a professional, independent investigator with the investigative report delivered to the Diocesan Review Board."
Father Laurin Wenig of St. Mary's Visitation Catholic Church in Elm Grove was removed from the active ministry a year ago after a man claimed Wenig abused him when he was a child during the 1970s. The Milwaukee County district attorney's office declined to prosecute because the statute of limitations had expired. The archdiocese is conducting an investigation into the abuse claim against Wenig.
Wolf said independent investigators hired by the diocese usually are retired law enforcement officers who investigate abuse claims and then submit a report to the Diocesan Review Board, which then makes a recommendation to the archbishop.