We were part of a meeting with the Attorney General on Monday. It is important to note the Attorney General is talking about a review of historical cases, not any new reports or cases.
The Church takes the issue of sexual abuse of minors seriously and has put in place many prevention, education and accountability correctives during the past 20 years.
Although we will take a look at the specific details of the Attorney General’s request when it is received, we have concerns about the negative impact this could have on abuse survivors, because the publicity has the potential to re-victimize individuals.
There is no evidence that the Church as a whole and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee hasn’t already taken all possible steps in addressing issues surrounding clergy sexual abuse. We also do not understand the legal basis for the inquiry. We also question why only the Catholic Church is being singled out for this type of review when sexual abuse is a societal issue.
The Church has already voluntarily provided the names of perpetrators and has made the correctives necessary to do whatever is possible to make sure this can never happen again.
Over the past 20 years, no institution in the United States has done more to combat the evil of sexual abuse of a minor than the Catholic Church. We know there have been mistakes made in how some cases were handled in the past, but today the Church has become a model of how this issue is addressed, including oversight, background checks, training, safe environment education and prevention, and outreach to abuse survivors.
Jerry Topczewski, Chief of Staff to the Archbishop