Flynn’s Work for Archdiocese a Hot Issue
Gubernatorial candidate’s work on clergy sex abuse scandal gets more criticism, support.
Democratic candidate for governor Matt Flynn continued to defend his work as a lawyer for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on Monday, pushing back in particular on claims he was involved with the transfer of abusive priests between parishes.
Flynn represented the archdiocese from 1989 until 2004, during the priest sexual abuse scandal.
His campaign for governor has been peppered with criticism from both the right and left for that work. On Monday, his campaign released a letter from former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland rebutting claims Flynn was involved in the transfer of abusive priests.
“The lawyers were not involved,” Weakland wrote.
According to Weakland, some priests who had undergone therapy were reassigned, but the process was overseen by a priest personnel board.
“Looking back, I would frankly have to admit that we were all extremely naïve,” Weakland wrote. “We did not understand the power of recidivism in such cases.”
A longtime Milwaukee priest, Domenic Roscioli, on Monday refuted Weakland’s claim.
“Weakland continues to minimize, excuse, and falsify what over 10,000 pages of court records clearly show: he allowed priest offenders to remain in parishes where they abused other children, moving them into new assignments and concealing them from the public,” Roscioli said in a statement released by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “He is now defending the man who was absolutely instrumental in helping him do it.”
Roscioli also pointed out Weakland resigned in 2002 after it was revealed the church covered up his homosexual affair and alleged date rape years earlier.
The state Republican Party also criticized Weakland.
“Matt Flynn lied about his role protecting these dangerous predators … and now his only defense is hiding behind a disgraced bishop who was his partner in the cover-up,” said party spokesman Alec Zimmerman.
On a call with reporters, Flynn said he always advised the archdiocese to report abuse to police and that he’s proud of the work he did representing the church.
“And I will not tolerate attacks on the church itself,” he said. “It’s a good church. It’s a very, very good church. It’s a foundational church in western culture and I will stand up for it.”
Listen to the WPR report here.
Matt Flynn Continues To Defend Work For Milwaukee Archdiocese During Priest Abuse Scandal was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.