The Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Saturday that Jerome Listecki has been named archbishop by the Vatican, an appointment which a group of survivors of priest abuse is voicing concern over. Listecki succeeds Timothy Dolan, who was named Archbishop of New York earlier this year. The 60 year-old Listecki has served as bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse since March of 2005, and members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say they have questions about Listecki’s record in dealing with abuse by clergy in La Crosse.
“Our concern is not him coming here right now, our concern is what he has to do while he’s in LaCrosse, to finish the job that has not been done in that diocese, for that church and for victims in that community,” said SNAP’s Midwest Director Peter Isely. “The Diocese of LaCrosse clears more priests of child sex abuse reports than any diocese in the country. So they are letting priests go who have been accused of abuse up there, more than any other diocese in the U.S.” Isely said Listecki has refused to meet with SNAP in the past, and has encouraged victims in La Crosse to take their allegations directly to him — not the police.
“During my time (in La Crosse) I can tell you that if there was any question of sexual abuse, everything stopped in my office, and that address was immediately attended to,” Listecki told reporters in Milwaukee on Saturday. “I will take a look at what’s been done,” in Milwaukee, he added. “What I will attempt to do is see if there’s areas that need to be tweaked, or areas of outreach that still need to be done.” A native of Chicago and retired military man, Listecki has been a pastor, a teacher, and lawyer, and will the archdiocese’s first archbishop of Polish descent.
Listecki is scheduled to be installed in January. Isely said SNAP will immediately try to schedule an open meeting with the new archbishop.