May 17, 2005

Victim of alleged priest molestation sues the Archdiocese of Milwaukee

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: May 16, 2005

For at least the third time, an adult who claims he was sexually abused by a priest as a child has sued the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for fraud over its handling of the situation.

The suit against the archdiocese and former priest Franklyn Becker claims Becker, who was recently removed from the priesthood after 40 years, molested Charles Linneman, an altar boy the priest met while assigned to St. Joseph Church in Lyons in 1980. According to the lawsuit, the molestation happened two years later, while Becker was assigned to an unspecified Milwaukee church. The St. Joseph altar boy, then 14, went to Becker's church the night before he was to serve as an altar boy there.

In the lawsuit, Linneman claims he was sexually abused at Becker's living quarters at the parish. It says that situation could have been avoided if the archdiocese had publicly disclosed allegations that Becker "fondled the genitals of a 13- or 14-year-old boy on approximately 10 separate occasions" from 1971 to 1972, performed other sex acts on a 14- or 15-year-old boy in California in 1978 and reportedly molested other boys in 1980 and 1982. "Had (the) Plaintiff or his family known what Defendant Archdiocese knew - that Franklyn Becker had sexually molested numerous children before (the) Plaintiff and that Franklyn Becker was a danger to children, (the) Plaintiff would not have been sexually molested," the lawsuit says.

At a news conference held Monday to discuss the lawsuit and allegations that Becker molested two other men when they were boys at his churches, activists from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests distributed copies of an e-mail report from Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan to priests and Catholic lay leaders that included a brief mention that Becker had been "returned to the lay state by the Holy See."

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2005 07:27 AM