Green Bay Diocese releases names of clergy in sex abuse investigation

By  | 

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay says an investigation has found 47 clergy members with "substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

There are 98 victims.

The names of 46 of the 47 priests were released on the Diocese website. One name is being withheld by the Diocese pending further review.

"It is important to state that there are currently no known priests serving in active ministry in the Diocese of Green Bay who have had a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them," says Rev. John Girotti, Vicar for Canonical Services.

These names are the result of completed investigations. The priests were assigned to multiple parishes over the years. Click on the name for more information on where they served.

Allegation received and investigated while priest was alive or substantiated allegations were received and investigated after the priest had died.

Donald Becker (multiple allegations)
Dennis Bouche (Single allegation)
David Boyea (multiple allegations)
Stanley Browne (single allegation)
Donald Buzanowski (multiple allegations)
Michael Carroll (multiple allegations)
John Conrad (single allegation)
August Dusold (multiple allegations)
William Eberhardy (multiple allegations)
Simeon Engl (multiple allegations)
John Feeney (multiple allegations)
Bernard Geimer (multiple allegations)
Daniel Gilsdorf (single allegation)
Ralph Hermsen (multiple allegations)
Richard Heyman (multiple allegations)
Philip Hoffmann (multiple allegations)
Leroy Hogan (multiple allegations)
William Kiernan (multiple allegations)
Jerome Koerner (single allegation)
John Koprowski (single allegation)
Nicholas Langenfeld (single allegation)
Clarence Leitermann (multiple allegations)
Norbert Rank (multiple allegations)
Francis Reinke (single allegation)
Kenneth Rodgers (single allegation)
Donald Rose (single allegation)
Tito Sammut (multiple allegations)
Eugene Schmidt (multiple allegations)
Ronald Schneider (multiple allegations)
Earl Schuh (single allegation)
Thomas Stocker (multiple allegations)
Richard Thomas (single allegation)
Robert Thompson (single allegation)
Gerald van Nuland (multiple allegations)
Alphonse Wagner (multiple allegations)
Jerome Watry (single allegation)

Single allegation received after priest's death.

Arthur Danks
James Hodik
George Kiefer
Laurence Loerke
Florian Milbauer
Glenn Ochs
Fridolin Olshowski
Elroy Reimer
Francis Rose
Walter Williams

The list dates back to 1906, which is the earliest documented allegation of abuse against a minor, according to the Diocese.

"With the disclosure of this list of clergy, a new chapter begins," Bishop David Ricken said. "A chapter that is about openness and a chapter that can set a course toward healing for all those who have been hurt by the church."

The Diocese follows the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People during investigations of clergy abuse.

The Diocese says inclusion on the list does not mean that the priest "has been found guilty of a crime or liable for any civil claim." In some cases, the priest was tried and found guilty by a court of law.

The Diocese says all allegations that were substantiated were reported to the District Attorney or law enforcement of the county where the abuse allegedly took place.

Bishop Ricken, Diocesan Chancellor Tammy Basten and Rev. Girotti spoke prior to the release of names. CLICK HERE to watch the news conference.

"The release of these names may open up old wounds and may create new hurt. For this, I am profoundly sorry. But I want to thank victims and survivors for their strength over the years for coming forward to tell their stories. The hurt they endured at the hands of their perpetrators cannot be undone," Ricken says.

"I need to show them through action that we are being open in addressing this issue," he continued.

The diocese is organizing workshops in two weeks for clergy and mental health professionals to respond to sexual abuse survivors. Details can be found at the end of this article.

Last September, the Diocese hired independent investigative firm Defenbaugh & Associates to review files of all of its priests and deacons.

Bishop Ricken says the firm made several visits to the Diocese in fall. The firm reported handed over their findings to the Diocese Independent Review Board and the chancellor on Dec. 17. The IRB recommended Bishop Ricken release the names in the report.

The review was conducted after retired Bishop Robert Morneau withdrew from public ministry for failing to report the abuse of a minor by a priest in 1979. The priest, David Boyea, would go on to abuse at least three other children.

Boyea was convicted of 1st Degree Sexual Abuse of a Child in 1986 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He is on the Wisconsin sex offender registry for life.

Boyea's victims filed a $12 million lawsuit against the church, which was settled.

"Looking back, I should have handled this situation differently than I did at the time. At the time, I was asked by the family of the victim to arrange an apology from the offending priest, which I did. I felt at the time I had done what was asked of me by helping the parties to reconcile," Morneau said in a letter printed in Diocese newspaper "The Compass."

MORE: Retired bishop says he failed to report priest abuse, withdraws from public ministry

Bishop Ricken unveiled seven "action Steps to accountability." That includes reporting all substantiated allegations against priests to civil authorities.

Here's the criteria for a substantiated allegation:

--Facts and circumstances show reason to believe the abuse has occurred.
--Certainty of abuser, consistency with time, place and date.

"The victims, survivors, and their families are my greatest concern," Ricken said. "To all the victims and survivors and their family members, please know that you will be in my prayers, especially in these coming days."

Sixteen priests and two deacons accused of sex abuse were exonerated or the allegation was deemed unsubstantiated.

Trauma Model workshops
The Diocese also announced Catholic Charities will have two workshops for clergy and mental health professionals to more effectively work with survivors of abuse. The workshops on January 31 and February 1 are led by Trauma Recovery Associates.

The workshop on January 31 is for clergy and pastoral leaders from 1 to 5 p.m. at St. John the Baptist, 2597 Glendale Ave., in Howard. There is no cost to attend and no limit on attendance. CLICK HERE for details.

The workshop on February 1 is to introduce licensed mental health professionals to the Trauma Model. It's from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Tundra Lodge, 865 Lombardi Ave., in Green Bay. The workshop is free, but there is a $75 registration fee for those who want to receive a certificate for 7.5 hours of continuing education. Space is limited to 125 attendees and registration is due by January 25. CLICK HERE for more information.