February 18, 2005

Priest abuse case has 'hero'

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: Feb. 17, 2005
Racine - On Tuesday night, members of Father Paul Esser's congregation who had gathered to hear the first in his annual series of Lenten lectures first gave him a standing ovation.

It wasn't for his lecture series - not that those aren't stirring.

The ovation was for something Esser had done nearly 30 years ago.

Esser, of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, is being recognized by the organization known as SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, for apparently being the lone voice to speak up against the transfer of a priest who had been convicted of child molestation and had abused another boy while on probation.

SNAP learned about Esser's attempt to stop the transfer of the priest, Sigfried Widera, after the Archdiocese of Milwaukee had released its records on the case last week in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. The records are part of a lawsuit in California, where Widera had been transferred to in 1977. The documents are the basis of a civil fraud suit filed last week in Milwaukee on behalf of an alleged victim of Widera's when he was at St. Andrew Parish in Delavan.

Posted by kshaw at February 18, 2005 04:22 AM