Updated: July 26, 2021 09:27 PM
Created: July 26, 2021 05:24 PM
Attorney General Josh Kaul is leading Wisconsin's first independent review of clergy and faith leader abuse. He has embarked on a statewide tour to encourage victims to come forward. On Monday, he made his first stop in Superior.
“We want to encourage those who have information—no matter how big or how small, no matter how much information you have, no matter how long ago an incident happened to report so that we can get as complete a picture as possible,” Kaul said.
To get a complete picture, Kaul is working with five District Attorney’s on the inquiry, including District Attorney's from Douglas, Dane, Brown, La Crosse and Milwaukee Counties.
Douglas County District Attorney Mark Fruehauf encouraged victims to share their stories Monday, even if they think the statute of limitations may have passed.
“Please know that if you come forward—even to report something long ago, your report will be taken seriously and you will be supported if you make that report,” Fruehauf said.
The Diocese of Superior said in a statement that they are not aware of any new reports or allegations against anyone in the Diocese.
"The Diocese recognizes that some cases were mishandled in the past, and we continue to pray for the healing of victims and their families. That is not today’s Church. We believe that the Diocese of Superior has never been safer for our youth," the Diocese said.
Additionally, the Dioceses said they hired a company for an independent third-party review of clergy files and plan to keep the lines of communication open with the District Attorney's Office as the inquiry continues.
"We have communicated with the Attorney General’s office, and our local District Attorney, and have promised to keep the lines of communication open," the Diocese said.
Ultimately, Kaul said the goal is to bring closure and accountability. He shared his hopes.
“It’s my hope that Dioceses and religious orders will view this as an opportunity to finally fully address this issue on a statewide basis with an independent review so that concerns that people have can be addressed,” Kaul said.
Victims are encouraged to come forward by going to https://supportsurvivors.widoj.gov/ or by calling 1-877-222-2620.