Archbishop Listecki responds to allegations
WAUWATOSA, Wis. -- Milwaukee's archbishop opens-up about the handling of allegations against a Wauwatosa priest suggesting an error in judgment.
Archbishop Jerome Listecki shared his thoughts through his blog on the arch-diocese website. And now parents and the community are responding to his words.
In his blog, Listecki openly addressed allegations of improper conduct involving Wauwatosa priest, Fr. Bob Marsicek.
Referring to Marsicek's pastoral history, Listecki writes:
" We see a priest who was repeatedly warned about boundary issues. None of these behaviors were sexual abuse, but collectively they call into question allowing this priest to remain serving as pastor of two parishes, each with schools or daycare programs."
Rev. Robert Marsicek has been on leave since March 28 after a Wauwatosa Catholic School teacher reported what she thought was inappropriate contact with a child on several occasions.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Marsicek also is under investigation in California, where a woman accused him of molesting her sons in the 1990s.
A Wauwatosa police report says investigators found several references to complaints about the 71-year-old priest in his personnel files with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and his religious order, the Society of the Divine Savior. The report says he was told to stop hugging and touching children and repeatedly counseled for boundary issues.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office recently declined to criminally charge Marsicek. An internal investigation with his religious order is ongoing.
Referring to the handling of Marsicek's case, Archbishop Listecki wrote, "While our decisions followed the letter of the law in accordance with existing policies, I am not sure they followed the spirit of the law with regard to our pledge to be vigilant in keeping children safe."
He went on to say he could "feel the Church's credibility crumbling."
Listecki has requested the Diocesan Review Board and other advisors to review the handling of the Marsicek case, along with diocesan policies of how to respond to allegations.
The community raged about Listecki's blog after a Journal Sentinel article.
One person wrote "How nice of the archbishop to suggest that the church erred in this case. The fact is, this case was bungled. To believe that the archbishop is clueless is naïve."
Another said, "Until Listecki figures out exactly where the boundary is between the "letter" of the law and the "spirit" of the law, I would suggest he establish a 100-foot boundary between any priest and any child."
But others stand by Fr. Bob Marsicek despite the new information about the allegations, Listecki's comments, and the investigation in California.
One parent who didn't want to be named summed up her feelings this way: "until proven guilty, everyone is innocent."