Archdiocese clears priest in sex abuse; Vatican may take up another’s case

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The Milwaukee-Wisconisn Journal Sentinel

May 10, 2012 3:21 p.m.

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

A Waukesha County Catholic priest, who was placed on leave because of a 20-year-old sex abuse allegation, is being returned to ministry after Archbishop Jerome Listecki ruled the allegation unsubstantiated, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee announced Thursday.

Father Mark Molling would return to St. Paul Parish in Genesee Depot this week, Listecki wrote in a May 5 letter to the congregation.

In reinstating Molling, Listecki said he was following the recommendations of an independent investigator hired by the archdiocese and the Diocesan Review Board, which bases its review on the investigator’s report. A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said she did not know the reasons the allegation was deemed not credible.

Molling was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation after a man, now in prison, alleged he molested him in the mid-1990s when he was a minor at Ethan Allen School for Boys in Wales. Molling denied the allegation.

In a separate case, Wolf said the review board has recommended the allegations against Father Laurin Wenig, who was placed on leave in February 2011, be referred to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

A Vatican document says the CDF reviews those cases in which there is a “semblance of truth” or an appeal. It was not immediately clear whether the archbishop has referred the case or is still considering the board’s recommendation.

Wenig, who last served at St. Mary’s Visitation Parish in Elm Grove, is accused of molesting a boy between the ages of 11 and 13 when he served at St. Nicholas parish in the 1970s.

Both cases were reviewed by local District Attorneys offices, which declined to prosecute. The Milwaukee District Attorney said it was beyond the statute of limitations, according to the Catholic Herald; the Waukesha County DA did not immediately respond to a request for its reason.

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