Wisconsin DOJ opens statewide investigation into clergy abuse, GB Diocese responds

Local News
TUESDAY 4/27/2021 12:33 p.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Diocese of Green Bay issued a statement following Attorney General Josh Kaul’s announcement of a statewide initiative.

The Diocese of Green Bay was with other Catholic dioceses and religious orders in Wisconsin that participated in the Attorney General’s conference call.

The Diocese says they have not received any formal written request from the Attorney General’s office. It is also stated that the Diocese understands this is a review of past cases and does not imply any new allegations against active priests or deacons in the Green Bay Diocese.

Read the full statement below:

The Diocese of Green Bay, along with other Catholic dioceses and religious orders in Wisconsin, participated in the Attorney General’s conference call on Monday, April 26. We understand that this is a review of past cases and does not imply that there are any new allegations against active priests or deacons in the Green Bay Diocese.  At this point, we have not received any formal written request from the AG’s office. Once we receive such a request, the diocese will review and respond appropriately at that time. 

We wish to emphasize that the Diocese of Green Bay remains dedicated to the protection of children and vulnerable adults. The diocese has, over the past several decades, implemented a variety of tools to ensure the safety of every person in the diocese, including background checks, rigorous safe environment training and education, mandatory reporting mechanisms and outreach to survivors of abuse. As part of this effort, in the fall of 2018, the diocese engaged an independent investigative firm to conduct an outside review of the files of all diocesan priests and deacons. Their review led to the release of our list of clergy with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor in January 2019. We will continue to walk with victims/survivors in their process of healing.

Green Bay Diocese

Local 5 will update this story as more information becomes available.

ORIGINAL: Wisconsin DOJ opens statewide investigation into clergy abuse

TUESDAY 4/27/2021 11:22 a.m.

(WFRV) – Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Tuesday a statewide initiative led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to review reports of clergy and faith leader abuse in the state.

The initiative will include an independent and thorough review of alleged sexual abuse committed by clergy and faith leaders, no matter when the abuse happened. The DOJ will provide survivors with a safe and confidential way for them to talk about situations.

However the initiative is for more than just survivors but for others who have witnessed, know about or suspect abuse to report it. Investigators will gather information directly from survivors, their families, friends and advocates through an online submission form that is on the DOJ’s website.

At this time, the DOJ has been in contact with five Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin and several religious orders with priests to inform them of the review and to discuss the next steps.

Program Director of Nate’s Mission, Peter Isely was at the announcement Tuesday and says, “Survivors are grateful to the Attorney General for his commitment to pursue justice for victims of clergy abuse and tell the truth about the full extent and impact of abuse and institutional concealment in Wisconsin’s faith-based organizations. This initiative is the result of many decades of survivors courageously coming forward to tell their stories.”

Survivors, their friends and family, or anyone who has information about the church’s response to abuse are encouraged to report clergy and faith leader abuse online at SupportSurvivors.widoj.gov or by calling 1-877-222-2620.

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