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Madison Diocese abuse review

The Madison Diocese has named an eighth priest “credibly accused” of sexually abusing a minor following an outside review, but a support group of those abused by priests claims there are other abusive priests left off the list.

The external review of diocesan personnel files, which was launched in June, adds one more priest to the seven previously named as having substantiated abuse allegations against them. The diocese has also begun investigating recent accusations against another Catholic clergyman, while a retired Madison priest was acquitted Friday on charges of sexual abuse in Jefferson County.

“While on the one hand, I am encouraged by and grateful for past efforts to be thorough and transparent in these matters, the addition of even one priest to the list of those credibly accused of such horrible acts and sins is one too many,” Bishop Donald Hying said in a statement last week.

In June, the diocese hired Texas-based investigations firm Defenbaugh & Associates to conduct the review and said at the time it was opening an investigation into a deceased priest following accusations against the clergyman within the past year.

The diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board deemed accusations against John Eberhardy credible, making him the eighth priest the diocese says has substantiated allegations of abuse. Eberhardy died in 1992, according to the diocese.

The diocese has previously named seven clergymen that had accusations of child sexual abuse substantiated by the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board: Archie Adams, Curtis Alvarez, J. Gibbs Clauder, Kenneth Klubertanz, Lawrence Trainor, Michael Trainor and Gerald Vosen.

All have either died or been removed from the priesthood.

Others left out?

But the organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, claimed Friday four additional former priests who at some point worked within the Madison Diocese have been either credibly accused of abuse by other dioceses or criminally convicted.

Brent King, spokesman for the diocese, said the diocese “either has no record of, or any allegations against the four individuals identified by SNAP,” adding that the Madison Diocese stands by its statement last week that “it can be confident that there are no known historical issues in its files regarding the sexual abuse of minors left uninvestigated or undisclosed.”

SNAP called on Hying, who was installed as bishop on June 25 after the death of Bishop Robert Morlino in November, to “aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered” abuse through parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and church websites.

David Clohessy, former national director of SNAP, said the organization is not implying the four priests abused anyone within the Madison Diocese, but rather wants to make people aware of clergymen who have been credibly accused in other locations.

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“We’re concerned that the bishop has put out an inadequate and incomplete list of predators,” he said.

According to SNAP, the four priest are:

  • Jesus P. Garza, Edgewood High School minister, 1995-97; credibly accused by the Chicago Archdiocese.
  • Charles A. Saalfeld, St. Joseph’s Church, Madison, 1956-57; credibly accused by the San Jose Diocese.
  • Philip C. Keyes, who left the Madison Diocese in 1976 over a dispute about Vatican reforms and pleaded no contest in 1993 to first-degree sexual assault of a minor.
  • Oswald G. Krusing, who held various assignments within the Madison Diocese; credibly accused by the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

“The Diocese of Madison thanks SNAP for their time and efforts for the good purposes of offering vigilance and working to root out the crime of sexual abuse,” King said in an email.

Open cases

After the launch of the external review, which the diocese said involved personnel files of more than 500 clergymen, another accuser came forward and submitted a formal allegation of sexual abuse against a retired priest, Patrick Doherty, going back more than 50 years ago.

Ordained in 1959, Doherty retired from the ministry in 1993 after “an admitted problem with alcohol as well as accusations from parishioners to the diocese that there was an adult man living in the rectory” with him, the diocese said in a statement last week.

The diocese is investigating the allegations against the 85-year-old Doherty, who no longer lives in Wisconsin, and will present findings to the Sexual Abuse Review Board to determine the credibility of the complaint.

Another diocesan priest, William Nolan, was found not guilty Friday in Jefferson County on charges he repeatedly sexually abused a boy starting in 2006 when Nolan presided over a Fort Atkinson parish.

Nolan has been on leave since he was charged in May 2018, and an investigation by the diocese had been on hold until the criminal trial concluded.

Morlino was credited by the diocese with laying the groundwork of the abuse probe in the weeks before he died on Nov. 24 at age 71.

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