Former Lodi priest guilty of abuse

The Capital Times, Wisconsin/June 13, 2007
By Samara Kalk Derby

The Rev. Kenneth Klubertanz, former pastor of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Lodi, was permanently removed from any "priestly ministry" Tuesday after being found guilty in an ecclesiastical judicial trial of sexually abusing a minor.

The Diocese of Madison conducted the trial and just received official notification from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding a final decision on Klubertanz.

After Klubertanz was accused of abuse in 2002, the Madison Diocese requested that he take administrative leave.

The Diocesan Review Board found the allegations against Klubertanz to be credible and then-Bishop William Bullock referred the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles matters of sexual abuse.

In 2004, the body authorized the diocese to conduct a penal judicial trial.

Bishop Robert Morlino requested that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops suggest three canonists from outside the diocese to be ecclesiastical judges and to conduct the trial.

The canonical trial provided Klubertanz with due process, as required by canon law, and the right to defend himself.

The final decision of the three judges found Klubertanz guilty of sexually abusing a minor and "unsuitable for priestly ministry," according to a press release put out by Brent King, director of communications for the diocese.

"Klubertanz has not been removed from the clerical state, but he is not assignable to any priestly ministry," according to the release.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has required Klubertanz to never be alone with anyone under 18.

"I recognize that today's announcement may serve as a deep source of pain for those sexually abused by members of the clergy," Morlino said in a statement.

"For those who have been sexually abused by members of the clergy, I sincerely apologize for the suffering you and your families have endured. Sexual crimes perpetrated against children or vulnerable adults by priests are shameful and grievous," Morlino continued.

The diocese has taken steps to address the issue of child sexual abuse, according to King.

The diocese has appointed a victims' assistance coordinator to respond to victims of clergy sexual abuse, he said. It has also initiated a mandatory safe environment program for its clergy and other religious leaders, seminarians, lay employees and volunteers who have regular contact with children and young people.

It is also conducting background checks on all church personnel who have regular contact with children and young people, according to King.

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