Moral Low Ground


8,000 New Catholic Child Sex Abuse Allegations Revealed in Milwaukee Archdiocese

February 10, 2012 by Brett Wilkins in Crime & Punishment, Religion, Sex with 0 Comments

At least 8,000 new sex abuse allegations against Catholic clergy have been revealed during bankruptcy hearings for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that 100 alleged offenders, 75 of whom are priests, have not been previously named in child rape cases.

Some 570 victim-survivors, 350 of whom are represented by attorney Jeffrey Anderson, have filed claims in the case, which is being presided over by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley.

“This is a public safety crisis, a child safety crisis that needs to be investigated,” Peter Isley of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) told the Journal Sentinel. “We need to know who they are and where they are. How can there be 8,000 crimes committed by over 100 offenders and there be no accountability?”

Addressing a packed courtroom, Judge Kelley expressed her reverence for the Catholic church as well as compassion for the victims of child-raping clergy.

Kelley’s ruling will only apply to two priests and a choir director who stand accused of molesting boys in the 1970s and ’80s. Church officials had unsuccessfully attempted to have the cases dismissed, arguing that the statute of limitations had long since passed.

The three clergy members involved are:

  • Father Franklyn Becker, pastor at Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay, now defrocked, whose victim alleges abuse in the early 1970s when he was 13- 16 years old.
  • Father David Hanser, also defrocked, accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy in 1977-78 when he was an associate pastor at St. John Vianney Parish in Brookfield.
  • Robert Schaefer, former choir director at St. Catherine Parish in Milwaukee, who is accused of sexually assaulting a boy over a six-year period from 1976-82, starting when the alleged victim was just 10 years old.

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