I read with interest on April 13 the early online version of the article "Priest denies 1970s abuse allegation, diocese restricts duties."
Post-Crescent Media spends a great deal of time discussing the Milwaukee archdiocese's decision to release documents tied to sexual abuse lawsuits. While the actions of the Milwaukee archdiocese are highly questionable, the current allegations concern a priest in the Diocese of Green Bay.
In fact, Post-Crescent Media uses seven paragraphs of Associated Press reporting on the actions of the Milwaukee archdiocese, then begins the next paragraph by saying, "In March, the diocese agreed to pay $700,000 to settle a civil lawsuit," when that action was by the Green Bay diocese, not the Milwaukee archdiocese.
Both dioceses have culpability in mishandling abuse allegations, but Post-Crescent Media confounds the issue by failing to discriminate between the matters of the dioceses.
In the past, I have written numerous letters to the editor of this paper. My letters have condemned the actions of the Green Bay diocese, and have condemned the way the diocese has treated Todd and Troy Merryfield. There is little doubt that the Rev. John Feeney abused the Merryfields and likely many others. The Green Bay diocese acted shamefully in those cases.
But I hope we can all agree that bad behavior by Feeney and the Green Bay diocese does not mean every priest is guilty by accusation.
Our legal system is based on the premise that one is innocent until proven guilty. I find the notion of guilty whether or not proven innocent as repugnant as the actions of Feeney and both dioceses as previously declared.
Please, let's not compound the suffering of those who have been abused by condemning the accused without due process. I hope none of us is ever accused of something we didn't do.