Archdiocese Honors Pedophile Priest with Full Burial Tribute

In one report, Jerome Lanser sexually assaulted an 8 year old in the sacristy and elsewhere until age 13

--see story below--


Victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse, holding childhood photos and signs, will attempt to hand deliver a letter to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki strongly condemning him for officially commissioning a honorary priestly service, burial, and tribute for Jerome Lanser, a pedophile priest who died this week.

Lanser, who was ordained a priest in 1958, was placed on leave in 1993 for reports of sexually assaulting a child for several years and is believed to have assaulted other children in various assignments.  Lanser remained in ministry, however, until 2004, when he was officially placed on restrictions, put on the archdiocesan list of child abusing priests, and forbidden to wear any clerical attire or present himself as a priest.  Nevertheless, Lanser, according to reports, continued to wear his collar after restrictions, and apparently received a full pension and health care benefits.

“For Lanser to get a full honorary burial, is like giving someone who betrayed his country a 21 gun salute,” said Michael Sneesby, a victim of Fredrick Bistricky, a Milwaukee area abuser priest who was also reported to have been buried in full vestments in 2006.  “We are not objecting to Lanser getting a Christian burial.  But to place a Roman collar on him after he used that collar to destroy the lives of children, dishonors not just victims, but every priest who deserves to wear the collar as a living symbol of trust and respect.” 

Lanser’s service was secretly conducted Wednesday by the Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese, Pat Heppe.  Lanser was wearing full liturgical vestments. It is believed his casket was open for viewing before the funeral service.   

This is not the first controversy concerning the burial of pedophile priests from the Milwaukee Archdiocese.  In the mid to late 1990’s, deaf victims of Fr. Lawrence Murphy, who assaulted at least 200 disabled children while operating St. John’s School for the Deaf, begged then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to remove Murphy from ministry and to not allow Murphy to be buried in his vestments.  When Murphy died in 1998, his funeral was presided over by Milwaukee auxiliary bishop Richard Sklba and Murphy was buried in his vestments.   


Outside of the Cousin’s Center, headquarters of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, 3501 S. Lake Drive, St. Francis


Friday, March 16th, 1:30 p.m.


Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259

John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575

Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Director, 414.915.4374

Victims object to pedophile priest's burial in full vestments

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

March 15, 2012 5:41 p.m.

A Milwaukee area priest who was restricted from ministry for sexually abusing a child in the 1960 has died, and victim advocates are objecting to his being buried in his priestly robes.

“This is absolutely outrageous,” Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said of the burial plans for Jerome E. Lanser, 88. “Here’s a man who violated everything the priesthood stands for,” and he is being buried “in full uniform,” he said.

Julie Wolf, spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Archdiocese said Lanser would have a closed casket out of respect for victims, but that he was entitled to be buried in his vestments because he remained a priest until death. A private viewing will be held for family, but she did not know whether the casket would be open or closed for that.

Isely said he learned about Lanser's death from victims who were upset that he could be buried in his robes. There appears to have been no obituary published, although the archdiocese updated its online list of priests with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against them, changing his status from "fully restricted" to "deceased." 

Lanser, who served in a number of parishes and as a chaplain in the archdiocese, was accused of sexually abusing a boy from the time he was 8 until he turned 13, according to news accounts of a failed lawsuit in the case.

He was among the 43 diocesan priests identified by the archdiocese in 2004 as having substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against them. The list of those names, now at 44, appear on the archdiocese web site at Lanser’s death brings to 21 the number of priests there who are listed as deceased.

Lanser was to be buried after a Mass Thursday at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Belgium. Archbishop Jerome Listecki chose not to attend, according to Wolf; the Mass was to be said by the archdiocese’s Vicar for Clergy, Father Patrick Heppe.

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published this page 2012-03-16 17:19:48 -0400

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