This morning, Nate’s Mission released a new video depicting our advocacy surrounding Attorney General Kaul’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse, including the process leading up to the announcement and our response to the investigation’s progress. The video features the recent history of our advocacy in Wisconsin beginning with our revelations of failed 2018 gubernatorial candidate and Church lawyer, Matt Flynn’s, role in cover-up of clergy sexual abuse. The video incorporates audio recordings from several calls between Nate’s Mission and Kaul’s administration and email messages from the DOJ to survivors.
The audio recordings appear to demonstrate false promises made to survivors surrounding resources allotted toward the investigation (19:50) and the DOJ’s reticence to work with Church documents containing potential criminal evidence provided by whistleblowers due to the “politically charged” Supreme Court and the Church’s “aggressive attorneys” (18:37).
We didn’t record our calls with the Attorney General’s office to create a “gotcha” moment for Josh Kaul and his staff. We take no joy in releasing this to the media. In fact, these recordings and the actions of the Wisconsin DOJ are a great source of pain for us, personally as survivors and advocates, for our organization, and for all victims of clergy abuse who expected more from Attorney General Kaul and his investigation. We agonized over this decision and ultimately chose to share this because Wisconsin survivors deserve to know it.
For thirty years, people who have been raped and sexually abused by Catholic clergy have been begging for a statewide investigation into the Church, a religious non-profit corporation in Wisconsin that has engaged in patterns and practices of raping and sexually abusing children and covering it up.
After meeting with Kaul about the DOJ’s intent to investigate clergy sex abuse and cover up, Wisconsin’s Catholic bishops publicly and defiantly refused to cooperate. In response, the DOJ appears to have decided not to subpoena a single abuse-related document from Wisconsin’s five Catholic dioceses. This is hardly the case in other states with uncooperative bishops, like Michigan, where the AG demanded and obtained over four million pages of documents from its seven dioceses. Most alarmingly, when church lawyers demanded that Kaul turn over potential criminal evidence given to him by Church whistleblowers, the Wisconsin Attorney General fully complied.
This problem is certainly not Kaul’s alone, but he has more power than any other single person in Wisconsin to finally fix this. As such, our demands for his office and for the district attorneys who support his investigation remain unchanged.
- Subpoena documents and evidence from all five of Wisconsin’s Catholic dioceses as well as religious orders
- Compel testimony of Church officials
- Investigate potential charitable fraud
- Conduct outreach to survivors of sexual abuse at Catholic-run Indian boarding schools
The history of child sex abuse in the Church sadly shows that those who are charged with the public duty to protect children far too often protect the Church instead, which is why so few known clergy offenders and those who covered up these crimes have ever been prosecuted. The question now is: has this changed? Are the bishops of Wisconsin still more powerful than the Attorney General and other elected law enforcement officials? So far the answer seems to be “yes.” And this answer is dangerous for every child in Wisconsin, not just Catholic ones.