President and Rector of St. Lawrence Seminary High School Being Investigated for Sex Assault of a Minor in Montana
By John Pilmaier
July 16, 2012
[with copy of the email]
According to Capuchin officials (see email posted below) Fr. Dennis Druggan, a Capuchin priest who is the President and Rector of St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, has been removed from his post and is under investigation for sexually assaulting a minor 25 years ago in Montana. The alleged assault or assaults occurred at the Capuchin operated St. Labre Indian School in Ashland Montana and was reported to criminal authorities in Rosebud County in June. According to the Capuchins, authorities say the alleged criminal activity is outside the old Montana criminal statute of limitations on child sex crimes. Capuchin officials say they are now investigating the abuse.
St. Lawrence seminary, which Druggan operates and lives at, is a boarding school for minors and located in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The seminary is one of the few such boarding school for youngsters seeking the priesthood or religious life and run by clergy left in the United States.
St. Lawrence became a national story in the early and mid-1990's after dozens of allegations of child sexual abuse were reported concerning several Capuchins who were living at the seminary. In 1995, a civil RICO, or organized racketeering, case was filed against the Capuchin Order but the suit was dropped after Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling barring all civil cases against religious organizations and officials for covering up criminal acts of rape and child sex assault, citing the first amendment of the US Constitution.
Druggan is the second Capuchin from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee under investigation for criminal acts of abuse. Fr. Matthew Gottchalk, a well-known Milwaukee Capuchin priest, was recently transferred to Detroit after abuse reports filed into the Milwaukee Archdiocese federal bankruptcy. According to the Milwaukee DA, at least one of those reports alleged criminal conduct.
(For an account of the known abuse cases involving Capuchins of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, see the report posted at BishopAccountabilty.org, and scroll approximately half way through the report.)
Important Information from St. Lawrence Seminary High School
|In the spirit of keeping our alumni informed of important information related to St. Lawrence, we share the statement below.|
Statement from the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph
The Province of St. Joseph regrets to announce that Fr. Dennis Druggan, Rector and President of St. Lawrence Seminary High School, Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct involving a minor at St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana over twenty-five years ago. There have been no allegations involving his ministry at St. Lawrence.
The allegations were received by the Province in June and, per provincial policy, were reported to officials in Rosebud County, Montana for a possible criminal investigation. The person making the accusations has been offered pastoral care by the Province.
The Province has been notified that, due to the expiration of the relevant statutes of limitation in the state of Montana, there will be no criminal investigation or charges stemming from the allegations. According to provincial policy, in order to avoid any risk of possible interference with the criminal investigation, Fr. Dennis was not notified of the allegations until law enforcement permitted the Province to do so. Fr. Dennis was notified of the allegations on July 13 and was placed on administrative leave. Fr. Dennis has denied any misconduct.
The Province will be retaining the services of an independent investigator to further investigate the allegations as quickly and thoroughly as possible. The results of the investigation will then be submitted to the Provincial Review Board, which will make recommendations to the Provincial Minister.
Fr. John Holly, Local Minister of St. Lawrence Friary, has been appointed as the Acting Rector. Mr. David Bartel, Academic Dean, has been appointed the Acting Principal.
The Province and St. Lawrence are dedicated to creating a safe environment for everyone in our ministries. Our Misconduct Policies and Procedures are available by clicking the "Safe Environment" tab at our website, www.thecapuchins.org. We are also committed to our ministry of Catholic education at St. Lawrence Seminary High School. We ask that people keep everyone involved in this matter in their prayers.
For more information on the Office of Pastoral Care and Conciliation, please contact Amy Peterson, (414) 374-8841 Ext. 22.
If you have additional questions, please contact Mary Patricia Voell, SLS Alumni Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org / 920-753-7522 who will forward your question to the appropriate person. If you wish to send a note or card to Fr. Dennis, please send to: Fr. Dennis Druggan c/o Ginny Schmitz, St. Lawrence Seminary HIgh School, 301 Church Street, Mt. Calvary, WI 53057.
Fr. John Holly, OFM Cap., Acting Rector
David Bartel, Acting Principal
Fr. John Celichowski, OFM Cap., Provincial Minister
John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575