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Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department arrests 16 sex offenders during Operation Trick or Treat

October 31, 2011

Victim/Survivors alarmed that clergy sex offender whereabouts are unknown

Today’s TMJ4 is reporting that the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s department has arrested 16 sex offenders during its sting operation known as “Operation Trick or Treat”.  The Sheriff’s department, in an effort to keep kids safe this Halloween conducted searches of sex offender’s homes in Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, and West Allis.  During their investigation they found pornography, children’s toys, and little girl’s underwear. 

Sheriff’s deputy Jo Donner stated that registered sex offenders are forbidden to participate in the trick or treat festivities.  She stated “they are not allowed to have any Halloween decorations inside or out, or pass out candy, and they’re not allowed to have costumes”.  If a sex offender is found with these specific items they are found to be in violation of parole.

The arrest of 16 sex offenders during Operation Trick or Treat raises the question; who is watching the clergy from the archdiocese of Milwaukee who have been removed from ministry for reports of sexual abuse?  The whereabouts of these offenders is largely unknown, leaving parents unable to protect their children during this holiday.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee lists 44 members of the clergy who have been removed from the ministry due to substantiated reports of sexual abuse.  Some of these individuals are deceased, many are not.  Most do not appear on the Wisconsin sex offender registry.  The website BishopAccoutability, which provides a more comprehensive account,  lists a total of 62 individuals who have been publicly accused of child sexual abuse. 

The majority of these offenders were never convicted in a court of law for the criminal acts that they perpetrated.  When victims were able to summon the courage to report their abuse to authorities they found that in many cases the statute of limitations had expired.  We also now know that bishops in Milwaukee and elsewhere did not report these crimes to law enforcement officials which prevented possible intervention from the courts.

The archdiocese of Milwaukee has yet to explain to the community the process they have put in place to monitor those members of the clergy who have had credible reports of sexual abuse made against them.  The archdiocese provides a limited list of diocesan clergy who have been removed from ministry on their website.  This list does not include those members of the clergy who belong to religious orders, who have a very large presence in the Milwaukee archdiocese.  The list also does not provide the sex abuse histories or the locations of these individuals.

If the archdiocese of Milwaukee were to conduct its own “Operation Trick or Treat”, visiting the homes of those clergy who have been removed from ministry for reports of sexual abuse what would they find?  Would they find Halloween decorations in the window?  Would they find children at the front door asking “trick or treat”?

As this year’s Halloween celebrations draw to a close archbishop Listecki should immediately inform the community how those clergy who have been removed from ministry for reports of sexual abuse, who are not listed on the state of Wisconsin’s sex offender registry, are being monitored.  Victim/survivors are concerned, that with no one watching these individuals, there is a risk that children today could be harmed.

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