Catholic Diocese of Green Bay: Firm to Review Clergy Files in Wake of Sexual Abuse Crisis
By Shelby Le Duc
Green Bay Press-Gazette
September 27, 2018
|Bishop David Ricken|
The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, with the help of a third party investigator, is launching an investigation next month into of all of its priests and Deacons.
A Texas-based independent investigative firm will be conducting an "outside review of the files of all priests and deacons who have served in the diocese," according to a Catholic Diocese of Green Bay news release.
"As we work to assure all clergy abuse cases have been identified and objectively reviewed, the diocese has arranged for Defenbaugh & Associates Inc., who specializes in this kind of work, to review files beginning in early October," the release states.
The announcement of the investigation comes a week after news broke that retired Bishop Robert Morneau withdrew from public ministry. He said his exit was prompted by his failure to report a priest's sexual abuse of a minor almost 40 years ago that allowed the priest to assault other youths.
In a letter to the diocese, Morneau admitted to failing to report to police a 1979 incident in which former priest David Boyea sexually abused a child. Boyea then went on to abuse more children, and in 1985 pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault of a child and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also permanently removed from the priesthood.
According to the diocese, the investigation into its clergy is also part of the diocese's compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which mandates the diocese examines its files and conducts reviews annually.
Bishop David Ricken is inviting parishioners to listening sessions through Oct. 4 in response to the sexual abuse crisis.
In a letter published in the diocese newspaper The Compass, Ricken wrote, "Sexual abuse of minors is a horrible sin and crime. While we have been working vigorously for many years to be vigilant in these matters and to show loving pastoral care for victims, I am committed to making whatever changes are necessary to help us reform, learn and grow from this experience."
The findings of review will be reported to the Diocesan Independent Review Board and the chancellor.