February 10, 2005

Man who claims abuse sues Archdiocese

The Journal Times

By Associated Press

ST. FRANCIS - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee covered up for a priest convicted of sexual misconduct in the 1970s when church officials sent him to a new parish without warning of his past, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

A man who says he was abused by the late Rev. Siegfried Widera in the 1970s at the new parish filed the lawsuit against the archdiocese, seeking an unspecified amount of money.

The lawsuit said the archdiocese transferred Widera from Port Washington to a Delavan parish, without warning anyone of his conviction of sexual misconduct in 1973. The archdiocese later transferred Widera to California.

The lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, alleges the archdiocese's "intentional non-disclosure" caused the altar boy's molestation by Widera.

"This archdiocese is a very scary place because the children are not safe here," said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney representing the accuser. Anderson said the accuser is now in his 30s and lives in the Milwaukee area.

The archdiocese released a statement in response to the lawsuit Thursday, saying it is committed to working toward resolving issues brought up by victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Posted by kshaw at February 10, 2005 07:07 PM