Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Contact: Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259; John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Co-Director, 414.336.8575; Alice Hodek, SNAP Green Bay Co-Director, 920-497-0795

Green Bay bishops issued standing order to destroy evidence in pedophile priest files

Records destruction began in 2007 with state high court ruling against church officials in fraud claims

Stunning admission under oath in deposition of top ranking diocesan official
SNAP, joined by the vice-chancellor of the Milwaukee archdiocese, calling on federal investigation into obstruction of justice

WHAT: Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, joined by Fr. James Connell, the Vice-Chancellor of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, will hand deliver the full transcript of a recent court deposition of top Green bay church official, Fr. James Doerfler, to the Green Bay office of James Santelle, Federal Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Under oath, Doefler details a standing order issued by Bishop David Zubick in 2007 to destroy secret files on pedophile clergy kept in what Doerlfer described as the document “vault” of the diocese. Zubik’s order was issued the same year that the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that church officials could be sued for fraud if found to have concealed and transferred known sex offender clergy into parishes and schools. A motion filed in Outagamie County Court on behalf of victims of Green Bay pedophile priest John Patrick Feeney is calling on the court to issue an immediate order to stop any further destruction of evidence.

SNAP and Fr. Connell will be calling on the Federal Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to launch an investigation into possible obstruction of justice by Zubick and other senior managers of the diocese who destroyed evidence, including current bishop David Ricken. Zubik was promoted by the Vatican to run the diocese of Pittsburgh in 2008.

WHO: Wisconsin leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s long time Midwest Director and Todd Merryfield, sexually assaulted as a child by Green Bay pedophile priest John Patrick Feeney.

Joining SNAP and Merryfield will be Fr. James Connell. Connell is currently the Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, a Catholic canon lawyer, and a member of the archdiocese child sexual abuse review board. He is also pastor of St. Clement Parish in Sheboygan.

WHERE: The lobby of the Federal Court building, 125 South Jefferson Street, Green Bay.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 20, 2:00 p.m.

PRESS MATERIALS: Deposition transcript of Fr. John Doerfler, Chancellor and Vicar General of the Diocese of Green Bay; court motion from Outagamie County calling on diocese of Green Bay to halt records destruction; pertinent sections of Catholic canon law pertaining to clergy records; expert canon law analysis of Green Bay document destruction by Fr. Thomas Doyle, HIPPA privacy statutes; 2008 letter from Brown County DA John Zakowski on Green Bay diocese claim to have turned over files of clergy alleged to have molested children to law enforcement; SNAP letter to Federal Attorney James Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin calling for an investigation of the Green Bay diocese for obstruction of justice.

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