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Clergy Abuse History
in Milwaukee Archdiocese

Publicly Accused Priests and Nuns in the Milwaukee Archdiocese

The Web site www.BishopAccountability.com contains a database of 60 priests (and one nun) that have been either publicly accused, sued in a civil court, or convicted in a criminal court of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Bishop Accountability makes it clear that except for those who have been criminally convicted of sexual abuse, or proven by a plaintiff in civil litigation to be responsible a victim’s abuse, the reports contained on the site are "merely allegations."

For more detailed information, including some photos and news articles naming the priests go to:

The following list contains the names and information about the offenders who the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has found to have substantiated reports of child sex abuse. We know that there are other offenders who worked in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and this list is not meant to include all possible offenders.
Adamsky, Father Raymond A.
Arimond, Father James L.
Bandle, Father Ronald J.
Beck, Father James W.
Becker, Father Franklyn W.
Benham, Father Michael C.
Bistricky, Father Frederick J.
Budzynski, Father Daniel A.
Burns, Father Peter A.
Collova, Father Joseph S.
Doyle, Father Andrew P.
Effinger, Father William J.
Engel, Father Ronald
Etzel, Father George A.
Farrell, Father William J.
Flynt, Father James M.
Godin, Father James M.
Haen, Father Edmund H.
Hanser, Father David J.
Herbst, Father Harold A.
Hopf, Father George S.
Jablonowski, Father James N.
Knighton, Father Marvin T.
Knotek, Father John T.
Krejci, Father Michael J.
Kreuzer, Father Eugene T.
Krusing, Father Oswald G.
Lanser, Father Jerome E.
Lesniewski, Father Eldred B.
Massie, Father Daniel J.
Murphy, Father Lawrence C.
Neuberger, Father Michael T.
Nichols, Father Richard W.
Nuedling, Father George A.
O'Brien, Father John A.
Peters, Father Donald A.
Schneider, Father Roger W.
Schouten, Father Clarence J.
Silvestri, Father Vincent A.
Trepanier, Father Thomas A.
Wagner, Father Jerome A.
Wagner, Father John C.
Walter, Father Charles
Widera, Father Sigfried

The following is excerpted from:

The Sexual Abuse of Children in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

By: Peter Isely & Jim Smith (2004)

PeterIsley In the most recent report on clergy sexual abuse, released in September 2003, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee revealed that 58 ordained men under the direct supervision of the Archbishop of Milwaukee—a number that does not include religious order priests which comprise nearly half of all ordained clergy in the archdiocese--have documented allegations of sexually assaulting minors.

The archdiocese claims that reports concerning 10 of these individuals are “unsubstantiated,” but the criteria for substantiation have never been disclosed. Some of these individuals appear to be under current investigation by church authorities. Patrick Schiltz, associate dean of the University of St. Thomas Law School, a Catholic institution in Minneapolis, has handled over 500 clergy abuse cases over the past 15 years for the church. “False reports are extremely rare,” Schiltz told the New York Times last year. There were less than 10 he “even suspected were false.”

Subtracting the 10 “unsubstantiated” reports, the archdiocese knows of 48 ordained men who have sexually assaulted youngsters. Thirty-three of these men are alive.

Misleading Figure

This figure misrepresents, however, the true number of sexually abusive clergy known by church authorities to be operating in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee under the direct supervision of the archbishop.

Currently, there are 445 diocesan priests living in the nine-county archdiocese, 255 of them in public ministry. The rest are retired, on leave, or working outside the archdiocese.

The archbishop is also the canonical supervisor of 361 religious order priests and brothers, 2,764 women religious and 163 ordained deacons.

The problem of sexual abuse by members of religious order communities is well known by the American bishops. Experts believe that the unique social and organizational features of religious life may actually exacerbate the problem of clerical abuse in some of these communities.

For example, a long-established religious order in the archdiocese, the Capuchin Franciscans, has acknowledged that at least nine of its friars committed acts of sexual abuse or misconduct at its minor seminary located in Mt. Calvary. Along with the school, the Capuchins operate numerous parishes and ministries, all under the jurisdiction of the archdiocese.

Very conservatively, then, the number of clergy in the archdiocese reported for sexually abusing youngsters should double, to at least 110. And this number estimates only the documented cases which, because of the underreporting discussed below, certainly falls far short of the true number of offenders in this archdiocese. It can be safely presumed that most of these men and women are still living.

Finally, there is the problem of sexual abuse by non-ordained archdiocesan personnel, such as Catholic schoolteachers, lay ministers and counselors. The archdiocese, with its almost 700,000 Catholics, employs hundreds of professionals and volunteers in its many parishes, schools, hospitals and other ministries. The numbers of such individuals known by the archdiocese to have committed acts of sexual abuse remains undisclosed.


The number of victims assaulted by clergy, religious and archdiocesan personnel is difficult to ascertain. Offenders rarely self-report and victims are extremely reluctant to come forward.

Some estimates, however, can be calculated by using the number of victims that have contacted the archdiocese. That number can be compared to the reporting rate among the general population or a subset of the population, such as youngsters sexually abused in public schools.

Studies have long shown that sexual assault and abuse, occurring at any age and no matter the perpetrator’s identity, are grossly underreported. It is estimated that somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of these crimes are ever reported.

For instance, a recent report by the New York Times summarizing the results of current studies of sexual abuse among school age students found that only 7 percent of these incidents were ever reported.

Number of victims in the archdiocese

According to the archdiocese’s September 2003 report, over the last nine years victims abused by clergy in the archdiocese have made approximately 300 reports to archdiocesan officials.

Court documents reveal that the archdiocese, which claims it had no formal record keeping procedures for such reports, recorded some 29 complaints of clergy sexual abuse of minors before 1992 in which administrative action was taken.

1992 to 1994 were years of intense media attention to the problem of clergy sexual abuse in the archdiocese. By that time the archdiocese had established an office for dealing with sexual abuse complaints. It is unclear why the number of sexual abuse reports received during these years, which would have been substantial, are absent from the September 2003 archdiocesan summary.

When factoring in religious orders then, and using only the archdiocese’s September 2003 figures, it is reasonable to assume that at least 600 victims have contacted church authorities to report sexual abuse against minors in the archdiocese.

Placing the reporting rate at 10 percent, or 3 percent higher than the reporting rate for the nation’s schools, the total number of victims from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee would be approximately 6,000.

How many of these children and youngsters would never have been abused had the church discontinued its secret practice of placing clergy offenders back into parishes and schools will never be known.

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