Thursday, October 24, 2013

In letter to parishioners, Abp Listecki outlines efforts to prevent abuse

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki recently shared the annual report on the diocese’s response to the ongoing issue of sexual abuse by clergy.

The annual report on what the diocese is doing to reach out to victims of clergy abuse and prevent futher abuse is required to comply with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. It was released in September.

In a letter to parishioners, Listecki said the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s efforts include national and state background checks, sexual abuse prevention and awareness training, and the development of an office dedicated to offering total victim/survivor support.

“Most importantly, no priest with a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is allowed to publicly minister in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee,” Listecki wrote.

The statement comes at a time when Listecki is under scrutiny by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests for not taking quicker action concerning the Rev. Robert Marsicek.

Marsicek, pastor of two Milwaukee area parishes with grade schools, was suspended from his job in March after it was learned he is involved in a child sex abuse investigation in Wauwatosa.

Peter Isley, a spokesman for SNAP, said Marsicek has also been under investigation in California since last May for child sexual assaults that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Listecki futher wrote to parishioners that he is commited to making amends.

“I pray every day that those harmed will one day find peace,” he wrote in the letter. “I also pledge, along with so many others in this archdiocese, to an unwavering commitment to act proactively and diligently to prevent crimes against children in our churches and schools and to act as a change agent in our communities so that other institutions stand with us in this fight against childhood abuse.”

According to the report, response efforts continue for individuals who have suffered sexual abuse by clergy. When a person contacts the victim assistance coordinator, a variety of resources are offered, including counseling referrals, spiritual direction and therapy support.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has also implemented the Safeguarding All of God’s Family program. All adults who work with children in a church setting are required to know the warning signs of abuse, are taught strategies for handling suspicions of abuse and are instructed on mandatory reporting laws.

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