Priest Is on Leave over Sex Allegation
The Allegation Was Made during Legislative Hearings Last Week
Wisconsin State Journal
September 22, 2003
A Baraboo Catholic priest is on leave from his church after a sexual misconduct allegation made last week during legislative hearings in Madison.
Father Gerald Vosen, pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, was the subject of an unexpected allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor made during a hearing at the state Capitol on Thursday, according to a statement read at weekend Masses by Msgr. Paul Swain, vicar general of the Madison Catholic Diocese. The abuse is alleged to have taken place "many years ago," according to the statement.
Swain read the statement on behalf of Bishop Robert C. Morlino.
As a result of the allegation, Vosen is temporarily residing at the Bishop O'Connor Catholic Center in Madison, according to the statement. No direct allegation of wrongdoing by Vosen has actually been made to church officials.
" ... Father Vosen's absence should in no way be interpreted to argue against the presumption of his innocence," according to the statement.
Morlino's statement urged the individual who made the allegation to bring it directly to church authorities.
In a brief letter also read to the congregation, Vosen insisted on his innocence and asked members of the parish to pray for the truth to come out.
As you know (an) allegation of sexual abuse has been presented against me. I can assure you that I have never abused a child or youth," he wrote.
Swain said after Sunday's last Mass that Vosen has already met with Morlino about this allegation.
Vosen, 69, was raised on a farm near Merrimac and graduated from the public high school in Sauk City. His education included instruction at St. Lawrence Preparatory Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wis., and St. Francis Major Seminary in Milwaukee.
He was ordained a priest in 1961 and served his first congregation in Boscobel. Since then he has served at 10 parishes. He was assigned to St. Joseph in Baraboo in December 1994, from St. John Vianney in Janesville.
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