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Courtroom support needed at Madison, WI clergy criminal trial this week

November 28, 2011

Father Joseph Gibbs Clauder will be on trial beginning Tuesday, November 29 in Madison, Wisconsin for the sexual assault of a minor. Clauder also has a history, according to evidence in civil suits, of assaulting vulnerable adults in his counseling capacity as a priest. Laura Nyberg, our SNAP Madison leader, tells me the trial is expected to last all week, with longer court days if necessary in an attempt to avoid having the trial go into Saturday.

The courthouse is located at 215 S. Hamilton Street (new location on the corner of Wilson and Hamilton). The courtroom is 8D with Judge William Hanrahan presiding. Testimony each day will begin at 8:30 AM despite what is listed on the Wisconsin Court Access.Com.

Attendance and support would really be appreciated, even if only for a few moments each day, longer if you can.

Laura’s cell phone number is 608/345-8158 for anyone who needs to get in touch with her for details.


Peter Isely
SNAP Midwest Director

The following article was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 31, 2011 describing the charges against Joseph Clauder.

Madison priest suspended since ’99 charged with molesting teen in 2004

By Bruce Vielmetti of the Journal Sentinel

March 31, 2011 |(18) Comments

A Madison priest who had been removed from active ministry in 1999 due to complaints of improper sexual conduct with a woman he was counseling was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 2003 and 2004.

Father Joseph Gibbs Clauder, 64, threatened the girl not to tell anyone about the assaults, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. She finally went to church officials in 2009, when she was 20. Madison Catholic Diocese officials told the State Journal that they did not immediately inform police because the woman wanted it handled within the church.

In August 2009, Madison Bishop Robert Morlino referred the case to Vatican officials after a diocesan board found the complaints credible.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the organization learned of that and informed the state Attorney General’s office in 2009.

“Up until SNAP’s letter to the AG, no report was made to law enforcement officials by Morlino, as required by Wisconsin state law,” said John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin director. ” Instead, Morlino had sent all the criminal evidence to the Vatican, claiming after SNAP made the case public, that the victim did not want to allegedly go to authorities.”

The woman who had an affair with Clauder in the early 1990s tried to sue the Madison diocese for negligent supervision of its priest. In 1997, the state Supreme Court ruled the 1st Amendment separation of church and state barred her claim.

Clauder was scheduled to make his first court appearance in Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday. He is charged with 2nd degree sexual assault of person under the age of 16.

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