8 Wisconsin Priests On Jesuits’ Latest List Of More Than 60 Accused Abusers

Survivors Calling On Release Of Transfer Records

The silhouette of a cross on a Catholic church
Michael Dwyer/AP Photo

At least eight Wisconsin priests and one brother are among more than 60 alleged abusers named Monday on a list by the USA Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus.

The list is not a legal judgment but bears the names of people where the province deemed there was “reasonable certainty” abuse of a minor had taken place.

The Midwest Province is the fourth in the country to release such a list of names. The names are for investigations run by the province that have ended across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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A person can see by each name, if there were single or multiple allegations against the priest and when the alleged abuse occurred.

Places where Wisconsin priests were accused include Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie du Chien, Marquette University High School in Milwaukee and St. Eugene Parish in Fox Point.

The Rev. Glenn Chun helped publish the information, which was put together from “established allegations” submitted to the province. He said the hope in publishing the names is to help past victims in the healing process.

“As well as to help those (who) may have not reported abuse, to help them to be ready to report what has occurred to them,” Chun said, adding that the plan is to keep the list up to date as ongoing investigations close.

Chun said the province has heard the public’s demands to release assignment records of these priests suspected of abuse, and officials are working on compiling those records with a plan to make them public.

“We really want to be a service to the people of God and to the extent that we can help in that process of healing and reconciliation with others and ensure people trust and believe that we are moving forward in an era of safe ministry and ethical conduct and behavior by all our staff,” said Chun.

Wisconsin Jesuits accused of abusing minors, according to the Midwest Province list:

  • J. Michael Cannon between 1967 and 1971 at Campion High School in Prarie du Chien.
  • Thomas R. Haller in 1950 at Campion High School, Prairie du Chien.
  • Robert J. Joda in 1970 at Marquette University, Milwaukee.
  • Robert E. Joyce between 1963 and 1965 at Marquette University High School, Milwaukee
  • Michael R. Kolb in 1986 at Marquette University High School, Milwaukee.
  • J. Roger Lucey between 1962 and 1963 at Campion Jesuit High School, Prairie du Chien.
  • Perry L. Robinson between 1974 and 1978 at Marquette University High School, Milwaukee.
  • James V. O’Connor between 1968 and 1971 at Campion High School, Prairie du Chien
  • Zacharias Palakunnel between 1973 and 1974 at St. Eugene Parish, Fox Point

Peter Isely, a founding member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said while it’s good to have these names available, it’s not just about the offender, it’s about how these allegations were handled by those in charge.

Isely said there’s been a lot of what he calls “name dumping” since a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania was published in August. The report outlined sexual abuse allegations at the hands of more than 300 priests in that state.

“Hopefully, this list is going to move the new Wisconsin attorney general to undertake such an investigation,” he said, referring to Wisconsin Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul.

Still, until that happens, Isely expressed skepticism about how complete these lists are.

“Without that vetting by the attorney general, one has to take a lot of suspicion and caution about how complete this list is,” Isely said.