De Pere Police share their concern over priest harassed for hunting
DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - De Pere Police say for now, the criminal harassment of a priest for bow hunting deer on the St. Norbert Abbey property has stopped.
We first told you about this story last week, after the priest says he was forced to file a police report.
Father Jordan Neeck has had a very successful bow hunting season on the St. Norbert Abbey grounds, donating the four deer he’s harvested so far to families in need.
But as he described to us then, his passion for hunting has come with heartache.
“It does hurt, I’m not gonna lie, every morning I wake up sick to my stomach thinking about the hatred towards me,” said Father Neecks during his interview with us last week.
Along with verbal abuse from members of the public using the Abbey property, police say their investigation also uncovered the theft of trail cameras, and especially concerning, vandalism to Father Neeck’s tree stand that could’ve proved deadly.
“There was some damage that could’ve rendered Father Jordan’s tree stand unsafe and there was also so damage to some trees, to us that indicated that whoever was doing this kind of knew what they were doing,” says De Pere Police Officer Tony Phelps.
At this point, police say no arrests have been made, and over the past week, the harassment and vandalism have stopped.
“I believe it has something to do with our investigation and our follow up and also with the story put out by channel 2, that’s what I attribute it to,” says Officer Phelps.
But as Father Neecks continues to hunt, De Pere police say they will be on the lookout for any issues.
“I actually followed up with the Department of Natural Resources and Father Jordan has the proper license and the proper tags to do what he’s doing, he has permission from the Abbey to be hunting on private property there and as far as the city and police department is concerned, he’s doing everything that he’s supposed to be doing, he’s legal and doing what he’s doing. No one should be committing any crimes in regards to their opinion, especially something like hunting,” says Officer Phelps.
In response to our follow up story, the Abbey released the following statement today.
“St. Norbert Abbey has consulted with local authorities and the DNR regarding their previous recommendations of helping reduce the deer population because of danger to vehicular traffic and neighborhood gardens. The goal is not to eliminate the herd but to manage the herd population and prevent CWD.”
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