Walker OK With Expanding Religious School Vouchers Despite Milwaukee Scandal

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Governor Scott Walker says he has no qualms about expanding religious school vouchers despite the Milwaukee Catholic Church scandal.

Students and staff at Notre Dame Middle School in Milwaukee gave Governor Scott Walker a warm welcome when he visited yesterday, even singing “God Bless America” as the governor walked into the school’s chapel.

Walker explained to the students how the state budget begins expanding school vouchers statewide. Walker’s visit to the Catholic voucher school came a couple days after the Milwaukee Archdiocese released thousands of pages of documents showing efforts to pay off clergy who committed sexual abuse of kids, and efforts to shield $57 million from potential victims’ claims.

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Walker says he has no qualms about more taxpayer money going to private schools, including ones run by Catholics.

“Stories like that are all the more reminders of why the laws have changed over the years significantly,” said Walker.

But Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says under Wisconsin law, religious organizations don’t have to report child sex abuse.

Isely: “We now have two separate laws in Wisconsin. We have public schools that have to report child sexual abuse, or you’re going to be prosecuted under the law. Then you have religious organizations, that as of today in Wisconsin still do not have to report child sex abuse..”

The Milwaukee Archdiocese and some other religious organizations say they tell employees to report suspected abuse cases. But Isely points to the recent case of a Catholic educator in Wauwatosa.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki admits the church may not have followed the spirit of the law with regard to church’s pledge to be “vigilant in keeping children safe.”

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