Wisconsin Priests Identified As " Guilty of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor" in Landmark Philadelphia Clergy Sex Abuse Case
By John Pilmaier
August 19, 2012
Wisconsin priests identified as "guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor" in landmark Philadelphia clergy sex abuse case
Priests belong to Milwaukee area religious order, the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province
Victims call on Archbishop Listecki to publically identify clergy from religious orders who have sexually assaulted children
Statement by John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that two religious order priests from Wisconsin appear on a list compiled by Monsignor William Lynn, the former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as having been identified as "guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor". Lynn became the highest ranking official of the Catholic Church to be tried and found guilty of endangering the welfare of children in a landmark case for his role in providing known sex offending clergy continued access to children. Lynn was sentenced in July to three to six years in prison.
The Wisconsin priests who appear on the list of sex offending clerics drafted by Lynn in 1994 and later ordered shredded by former Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia Anthony Bevilacqua belong to a Milwaukee area religious order, the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province. The clerics are Fr. Stanley Janowski and Fr. DePaul Sobotka who each taught at Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia. Janowski was once vice principal of the school and the Franciscan's acknowledged paying a settlement to one of his accusers.
The Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province are based in Franklin Wisconsin and have a presence throughout the state, including at parishes, hospitals, and universities. In the Milwaukee area they are affiliated with St. Francis Seminary, Cardinal Stritch University, and Sacred Heart School of Theology.
The appearance of two Wisconsin priests on a list of clergy sex offenders in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia illustrates a continuing danger to children that church officials, including Archbishop Jerome Listecki, refuses to address. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee's selective list of 44 sex offending clerics does not include priests, nuns, and brothers who belong to the multitude of religious orders who work in the archdiocese. According to Milwaukee church officials over half of all clergy affiliated with the diocese belong to religious orders.
In US Bankruptcy Court it was revealed that there remain up to 100 unidentified sex offenders, of those at least 70 are priests, who have assaulted children in the Milwaukee archdiocese. Many of these unidentified offenders likely belong to religious orders that minister in parishes, schools, and hospitals. Listecki has refused to identify these individuals who may continue to pose a danger to children.
Archbishop Listecki, in the interest of protecting our children from sexual predators, should immediately release the names of all known sex offending clerics who work, or have worked in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, including those who belong to religious orders. As the Archbishop of Milwaukee, and the Metropolitan Archbishop in the State of Wisconsin Listecki should call on the provincials of all religious orders operating in the state to publically identify all sex offending clerics in their midst.
The question Catholics and members of the community need to ask is whose interest is served by keeping the identities of sex offenders secret? It is certainly not in the interest of our children, but rather in the interest of church officials who wish to protect their image and reputation from further harm.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us at SNAPnetwork.org and SNAPwisconsin.com.