Six Priests in Milwaukee Archdiocese Child Abuse Records Worked in Menomonee Falls

By Charles Gorney
The Patch
July 3, 2013

Six priests named in the sexual abuse files worked at three different churches in Menomonee Falls from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Six priests whose names appear on a list of priests removed or restricted from ministry because of substianted allegations of sexual abuse of minors worked in Menomonee Falls, according to records released Monday.

The release, partly motivated by the archdiocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, includes about 6,000 pages of documents — from personnel files of priests accused of sexual abuse to depositions of high-ranking archdiocese officials, including former archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Among the names listed are:

  • Daniel Budzynski, assistant at St. Mary Parish, 1961-1962
  • Jerome Lanser, curate at St. Mary Parish, 1964-1969
  • Ronald Bandle, associate pastor at St. Mary Parish, 1974-1981
  • Daniel Massie, associate pastor at St. Mary Parish, 1980-1986
  • John Knotek, pastor at St. James Parish, 1968-1972
  • Andrew Doyle, associate pastor at St. Anthony Parish, 1984-1988
The documents were selected by the abuse survivor attorneys, archdiocese chief of staff Jerry Topczewski told Patch. Though the records were released as part of a bankruptcy agreement, Topczewski stressed that releasing the files can be part of the healing process for abuse survivors.

"Ultimately, we want them to know that the church loves them," Topczewski said. "And the church owes them a debt of gratitude for having the courage to come forward."

But according to press releases from SNAP Wisconsin, the local arm of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the documents have some major implications for the archdiocese.

In one press release, SNAP Wisconsin Director John Pilmaier suggests that archdiocese officials were involved in a “criminal conspiracy” with the practice of re-assigning known offenders to churches and schools after they underwent treatment for pedophilia.

According to the press release, a group of experts with the American Psychological Association compared the practice to “giving an alcoholic a job in a bar.”

Here is what the records have to say about the priests assigned to local churches:

Daniel Budzynski

Budzynski was an assistant at St. Mary Parish from 1961 to 1962. Though there were no allegations of sexual abuse during his time there, there were allegations of underage sexual abuse at later assignments.

His files include a 1966 letter from Budzynski requesting that he be assigned as a guidance counselor or teacher, as he has "since been especially interested in helping boys."

He later spent many years on leave and in counseling, as detailed by his timeline. Most of his treatment focused on alcoholism and his subsequent solicitation of young boys.

In 1983, there were letters expressing his therapist's belief that Budzynski should not work with children. Still, he was given other assignments in parishes until his 1995 retirement.

One document in his file lists over 42 potential victims. He was laicized in 2004.

Jerome Lanser

Lanser was curate at St. Mary Parish in the late 1960s. There has been one allegation of sexual abuse during his time there, and a lawsuit was filed against him in 1992. The lawsuit was dismissed, but there was a later settlement paid by the archdiocese.

Numerous reports of Lanser's abuse of young boys were documented over the last decade following Lanser's retirement in 2000.

Lanser has never been convicted of a crime, as allegations against him were barred by the statute of limitations.

Ronald Bandle

Bandle was associate pastor at St. Mary Parish from 1974 to 1981. While there were no allegations against him during his time there, it was later discovered that he had a relationship with a 15-year-old in Menomonee Falls.

Bandle was restricted from all public ministry and unsupervised contact with minors in 1993, but in 1996 he was assigned as an assisting priest at St. Joseph/St. Killian Parish in Lyons. He held that assignment until his death in 2001.

Daniel Massie

Massie was associate pastor at St. Mary Parish from 1980 until 1986. There were multiple allegations that Massie molested young girls during his time there.

There was legal action involved in one of those allegations, resulting in a $20,000 settlement agreement.

Massie was later treated for alcohol abuse throughout the 1990s, and he was still assigned to various churches in Milwaukee and West Allis. He was dismissed from the clergy in 2002 and laicized in 2009. His voluntary laicization included $20,000 from the archdiocese.

John Knotek

Knotek was appointed pastor at St. James Parish in 1968, where he worked until he resigned in 1972 after a reportedly "troublesome situation" there.

After his retirement in 11988, there were some allegations that Knotek had been involved with young girls in the late 1960s and early 1970s, allegations which he denied. He died in 2006.

Andrew Doyle

Doyle was associate pastor at St. Anthony Parish from 1984 to 1988. There were no allegations of sexual assault from his time there, but multiple allegations came forward in the 1990s.

He sought severance from the church in the mid 1990s, as he was promised $30,000 from the church if he chose to do so. He died in 2010.

Allegations Treated Differently Now

According to Topczewski, "no priest today can serve in ministry if there's a substantiated allegation of sex abuse."

He told Patch that allegations are immediately reported to the police. If the district attorney determines that an allegation cannot be prosecuted, he said the church conducts its own investigation, headed by an independent review board and often facilitated by retired Milwaukee police detectives.


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