According to an article that appeared Thursday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin’s attorney general Josh Kaul is preparing to launch a statewide investigation into clergy sexual abuse.
The article reported that Kaul has invited representatives of Wisconsin dioceses and religious orders to a meeting Monday, April 26, to discuss the investigation. The attorney general is expected to officially announce the investigation sometime after that meeting, the story said.
The Journal Sentinel quoted a letter sent by Kaul to the dioceses and religious orders: “I agree with the many survivors of clergy abuse, and those who support and have advocated for them, that a review by our office is necessary to provide accountability and, ultimately, healing,” Kaul wrote. “I hope you will welcome that review.”
We have many questions about what the investigation might involve, and hope to learn more when the investigation is officially announced.
This news comes after requests for an investigation by many survivors and their families, including loved ones of Nate Lindstrom, a victim of clergy abuse at St. Norbert’s Abbey in Green Bay, who died by suicide in March 2020.
Aaron Lindstrom, Nate’s older brother, spoke at an Awake event this month about efforts to push the Norbertines for greater transparency around sexual abuse cases.
We at Awake welcome the investigation. We are heartbroken and angry about the sexual abuse and cover-up that has taken place in our Church. As committed Catholics ourselves, we understand the mix of feelings that this announcement brings, but see this process as necessary to bring to light what has happened in the past—and what is happening today.
Below we share the press release that Awake issued this morning.
We will be following next week’s events closely, so check back for updates.
AWAKE MILWAUKEE RESPONDS TO NEWS OF WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATION
Local Catholic organization welcomes opportunity for truth and justice
MILWAUKEE, April 22, 2021 – Awake Milwaukee welcomes the news that Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul will be launching an investigation into sexual abuse in the state’s Catholic dioceses and religious orders.
Awake Milwaukee offers a particularly important perspective on this news, as our organization is composed of abuse survivors and concerned Catholics who are working together to address the twin crises of sexual abuse and leadership failures in the Catholic Church. In the coming weeks Awake will:
- provide information and resources to Catholic parishes and leaders
- create spaces for concerned Catholics to understand and discuss this news
- encourage survivors and others who have information to come forward to aid the investigation
Executive Director Sara Larson says, “As committed Catholics, we are heartbroken and outraged over the abuse that has taken place in our Church, and we welcome the opportunity to better understand what has happened in the past – and what is happening today. While we recognize that the process and findings of this investigation may be painful for Catholics, we believe that transformation and healing are only possible when we know the whole truth. Our Catholic faith compels us to work for justice and act in solidarity with those who are suffering, so we stand with all victim-survivors and every person who has been harmed by abuse in our Church.”
About Awake Milwaukee
Awake is a grassroots nonprofit organization of Catholics responding to the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. Our mission is to awaken our community to the full reality of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and work for transformation and healing in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. More information can be found at http://www.awakemilwaukee.org.