SNAP calls on Diocese to release additional priest names

Published: Jan. 18, 2019 at 6:00 AM CST
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A national clergy abuse survivor group is urging Wisconsin's Attorney General to investigate the Diocese of Green Bay after the church released names of 46 priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

On Friday, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) held a news conference in front of the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier on Madison Street in Green Bay.

to watch the full news conference.

SNAP is urging Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to initiate a statewide investigation of church sexual abuse and cover up.

"There are 15 states now and the US Department of Justice that have open investigations of Diocese like this one where there has been demonstrable evidence and proof that there has been a history of decades of covering up child sex crimes," says Peter Isely, founding member of SNAP.

Green Bay's police chief, too, is calling on organizations with evidence or records of sexual abuse to turn them over (read Chief Andrew Smith's complete letter at the end of this article).

SNAP is asking for Bishop David Ricken to name "additional abusive priests known by church officials to have operated within his diocese."

"That list is partial, it is biased and it is incomplete," Isely says.

"When you release that list, you have a duty and a responsibility and an obligation to let the public know, and to let survivors know, in particular, that you know which clergy and which priests have sexually assaulted and raped children, because you know who they are."

The Diocese list of names does not include religious orders such as the Norbertines or Franciscans.

Isely says bishops in other states have included the names of priests in religious orders.

"These are not minor crimes. These are crimes against children. You have that information, you have those identities. And you have to release those names and identities. You have the authority to do it. And we insist, as survivors, and we think the public is insisting that you do that," Isely says.

He argues, "Any cleric that has worked or lived in this Diocese is ultimately under the authority of this bishop."

SNAP is asking the AG to look into the destruction of files about sex abuse by former Bishop David Zubik in 2007. Isely says the evidence was destroyed because the church was about to face civil action.

"This has been proven and demonstrated by admissions by church officials here in 2007. And these are admissions in court depositions, that Bishop Zubik ordered the systematic destruction of criminal evidence of child sex abuse by clerics in this Diocese," Isely says.

On Thursday, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay announced that an investigation found 47 clergy members with "substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor."

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

"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.

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.

Going forward, Peter Isely and survivors want to know the details to be found in those unanswered questions.

"The only authority that we have any confidence in to vet that list of names, how these cases have been investigated, who is not on that list--is the attorney general of this state," Isley says.

"Religious orders, we've known historically, have routinely transferred these sex offenders. That's what attorney generals are finding out. That's what these investigations are discovering."

Trauma Model workshops

The Diocese has 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. Open letter from Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith To the Citizens of Green Bay, Like many of you I am deeply concerned about the frequency of sexual abuse allegations that are made against people in positions of trust in our community. Regardless of who the abuser is, there is only one appropriate entity that can be trusted to conduct a full, fair, impartial, and professional investigation: local law enforcement. In the City of Green Bay, it is the responsibility of the Green Bay Police Department to investigate these crimes. Regardless of who the alleged abuser is, it is critical that all abuse allegations are investigated thoroughly and professionally. Evidence must be collected, records must be protected from destruction and most importantly, victims must get the critical support and services they need. Sexual abuse and sexual violence are serious criminal matters. Sexual assault crimes have the potential to leave lifelong psychological scars for victims and their families. Sexual assault victims are at even greater risk if the incident is not handled in the most professional and compassionate manner possible. For this reason, the Green Bay Police Department, and other local law enforcement agencies partner with our local experts in the field, the Sexual Assault Center, and the Child Advocacy Center. They assist us whenever we speak with victims of sexual assault. We have experienced detectives who are specially trained and certified in the performance of forensic interviews with victims of sensitive crimes. No other organizations are better positioned, nor are any more appropriate, to investigate these sensitive matters. Our highly trained law enforcement professionals excel at interviewing, investigating and gathering the appropriate evidence to determine if there is probable cause to believe a crime occurred. We assist the Brown County District Attorney’s Office with the successful criminal prosecution of sexual abusers. In order to get successful prosecutions, hold abusers criminally responsible and protect our most vulnerable potential victims in the future, it is essential that any allegations of sexual abuse or assault be reported to law enforcement immediately. We owe it to the victims to do everything possible to prevent incidents from occurring and to hold those responsible for the harm they inflict on our most vulnerable community members. The only way to ensure that happens is to report any allegations of sexual abuse to your local law enforcement agency. Additionally, I call on any organization to turn over evidence and records of any alleged or substantiated criminal wrongdoing that is in their possession or control. Andrew J. Smith, Chief of Police Green Bay Police Department


LIST OF PRIESTS NAMED (click on a name for diocese information)


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)

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