As Bishop of Superior, I am publicly releasing the names of clergy with substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. This list of names is the result of three separate clergy file reviews (including one by security consultant firm Defenbaugh & Associates), more than a year of meetings, multiple sessions with the Diocesan Review Board, and much prayer and discernment.
As this list is made public, I want to express my deepest apology and sympathy to all victims, survivors, and the family members who suffered with them. While most of the allegations in the list are more than 30 years old, I know that the wounds caused by abuse are as fresh as if the abuse happened yesterday. I understand that the publication of this list may reopen those wounds, and I sincerely apologize. It is my hope and prayer that making this list public will bring healing.
I wish we could go back in time and undo all of the hurt and pain, the sins of the past. But we cannot. What we can do is learn from the past and do everything in our power to never repeat the abuse.
I firmly believe the Diocese of Superior is clearly on the right path in protecting our children. Over the past 35 years, starting with our 1988 Morals and Ethics Policy, we have implemented the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and we have established our Diocesan Safe Environment Office. Through the efforts and guidance of this office, more than 15,000 adults have been background-checked and trained to recognize abuse, the grooming behaviors of abusers, and that all abuse of minors must be reported to law enforcement. This number includes some 300 clergy, volunteers, and all adult employees. What began as “Safe and Sacred” training for children (now Circle of Grace) has trained thousands of children. Our children now have a greater sense of their own sanctity and how valuable they are in the eyes of God.
Again, I extend my deepest apology and sympathy to victims, survivors, their family members, and all the faithful of the Diocese of Superior. As a diocese, we are committed to openness and transparency. I strongly urge all victims of clergy abuse to report their abuse to local law enforcement and to Kathy Drinkwine, our Diocesan Coordinator of Assistance, at 715-718-1110 (cell) any time, 715-394-0216 (office), or by email, .
Please join me in prayer daily for victims of clergy abuse. May God bless and protect us.
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