Sarah Pearson
State Co-Chair
Women’s March Wisconsin

Peter Isely
Founding Member and former Midwest Director of SNAP
(The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

Spokespersons for sexual assault survivors will be outside the Milwaukee Press Club Luncheon on Tuesday May 22nd at 10:30am to answer questions related to the Child Victims Act and recent responses by the Flynn campaign.

A list of specific questions regarding Matt Flynn’s involvement in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee child sex abuse scandal are included in this release.

1. Flynn says the criticism of his role in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sex abuse scandal originated from the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

FACT. The criticism of Flynn’s role in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee sex abuse scandal originated from the victims of child sex abuse who fought against Flynn and archdiocese in court. Those victims are supported today by survivors of sexual violence, progressive women’s organizations, and the state’s largest LGBTQIA newspaper.

2. Flynn claims, “Since I represented the archdiocese, there has been no recurrence of the transfer of priests who shouldn’t be transferred, and there’s been no recurrence of that kind of conduct.” Flynn said he “put into place procedures to identify and remove abusive priests, notify the authorities and prevent their transfer.”

FACT. According to a 2011 deposition of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Flynn had a “list of offenders of sexual abuse of minors.” At least 23 offender priests with prior reports of sexual assault were transferred into new assignments under Flynn. Flynn met with abusive priests and archdiocesan officials, and he knew of and was directly involved in the transfers of offending priests.

Flynn paid off some of these abuser priests through his law firm Quarles and Brady to leave their positions in the archdiocese and resettle in unsuspecting communities. One is currently a licensed social worker, another was a grief counselor working with families, and another taught classes at the YWCA.

3. Flynn claims neither he nor the Archdiocese defended the conduct of the priests.

FACT. No one claimed that Flynn was the defense lawyer for individual priests. Flynn’s role was greater than that. He was the chief lawyer and strategist for the senior management of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who, under Flynn’s direction and advice, actively covered up child sex crimes, concealed offenders, and transferred abusers from one assignment to another without without notifying police, parishioners, or the public.

Anyone charged with a crime deserves a defense attorney. No one has disputed that.

Senior managers of a corporation responsible for the false representation of the safety of thousands of children in schools and youth programs should be held accountable. Matt Flynn made sure they were not.

4. Flynn says he had no knowledge of Father James Arimond’s application of a license or job after he was removed from ministry.

FACT. Father Arimond, former pastor of St. Frederick in Cudahy, was convicted of a 4th degree misdemeanor in July 1990 after a victim and his father reported to the police that Arimond had sexually assaulted the victim on at least twenty-five occasions.

In October 1990, Arimond was sentenced to forty-five days in the House of Corrections and then returned to the archdiocese. He was offered a pastoral assignment during his term of probation. The stipulation of his assignment was that he would be permitted only “casual contact with adolescents.”

In April 1990, additional allegations against Arimond surfaced. In October of 1994, Flynn proposed that Arimond be paid $25,000 in addition to his pension to voluntarily leave his position at the archdiocese.

Arimond had told the archdiocese that he intended to become a family counselor. On January 30th, 1995, Arimond obtained a professional counselor license from the State of Wisconsin. On March 3rd, 1995, a $25,000 check is issued from Quarles and Brady to Father Arimond. Arimond then left his position at the archdiocese and began his counseling practice at a Racine clinic. After a 2002 investigative report by the Journal Sentinel, Arimond’s license is revoked.

5. Flynn claims “Susan [Smith] was treated with dignity and respect.”

Susan Smith submitted a written statement on May 21st, 2018.

6. Flynn says in response to the court costs charged against victims that “the costs referred to are the routine taxation of costs in favor of the prevailing party in litigation.”

FACT. Court costs are not automatically assessed; they must be filed by the attorney of record. In the majority of child sex abuse cases against the archdiocese that were dropped, court costs were not filed.

Only three victims were targeted with court costs.

In one particularly egregious example, a victim of Father Michael Neuberger was charged over $15,000 in court fees. Neuberger had admitted to countless instances of child sex abuse in an extensive internal investigation ordered by a “crisis team” that included Matt Flynn. The experts had concluded that the allegations of sex abuse were likely true.

A victim of Father William Effinger was charged over $10,000 for the church’s legal costs despite the fact that Father Effinger had admitted to the archdiocese the he sexually abused her as a child. Father Effinger had been transferred into the victim’s parish despite his previous history of abuse.

The Flynn campaign must answer the following questions regarding Matt Flynn’s involvement in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee child sex abuse scandal.

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