Ron Johnson's Latest Excuse for Lobbying Against Child Abuse Victims Leaves More Unanswered Questions
"It will be different once and if he wins, he promises. Then, his true feelings can take voice." [Politico, 10/12/10]
This morning, WisDems Chair Mike Tate called on Ron Johnson to end his shifting explanations for why he lobbied against the Child Victims Act, and provide some honest answers to the following questions, particularly in light of his admission to Politico that he was waiting until after the election to reveal his "true feelings."
Ron Johnson claimed this week he opposed the bill on constitutional grounds, but when he gave his testimony in January, he did NOT raise any constitutional concerns in his testimony in January. You can verify that by reading his testimony online.
Mike Tate called on Ron Johnson to answer the following questions:
-Why didn't Ron Johnson tell the victims who were sitting in the senate gallery that he served on the board of the finance council of the Green Bay diocese when he lobbied against child abuse victims?
-Why didn't Ron Johnson take the time to get the other side of the story and get a briefing from any victims organizations or law enforcement ? Details matter. And we're not talking about just details here. We're talking about peoples' lives.
-Why didn't Ron Johnson call for transparency in his testimony, if he feels so strongly about it today?
-Media reports have made it clear that Ron Johnson was briefed by the church about the bill. Ron Johnson served on the finance council of the Green Bay diocese. He served on the council with a bishop who media reports reveal shuffled at least one abusive priest from church to church despite being made aware of the priest's abusive tendencies. Did Ron Johnson know about potential abuse litigation the church would face?
-Did Ron Johnson know about abusive priests? It defies credibility that Johnson sat on the finance committee with a man who knew about abuse, admits he was briefed on this bill by church officials, but somehow claims he had no clue about abuse cases or how much it might cost the church when he went to Madison to lobby against the Child Victims Act.
-The bottom line: Ron Johnson has been involved on this finance council, a key governing body. This council would know of expensive costs and litigation facing the church. So what did Ron Johnson know, and when did he know it?
TPM: Johnson Testified To Protect Catholic Church From Sex Abuse Lawsuits
Brian Beutler and Johanna Barr | October 6, 2010, 1:01PM
As a member of the finance council for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay until he resigned to run for Senate this year, Ron Johnson served alongside a bishop named Robert Morneau who, as a Church leader, had been made aware over two decades ago of the abusive tendencies of Rev. John Feeney.
Rev. Feeney was convicted in 2003, before Johnson joined the council, for sexually assaulting two brothers in the late 1970s. But according to documents obtained by the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the Church sought to cover up his crimes, which one reverend called "sexually very inappropriate."
Seven years later, Johnson testified before the Wisconsin State Senate against legislation to eliminate the statute of limitations for such crimes, making it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages from the Church or any other culpable institution.
The testimony first arose in the context of the race in a June article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and has been dogging Johnson more or less ever since. His connection to Morneau raises questions about how familiar Johnson (who is not a Catholic) was with the diocese's hidden scandals. Those questions couldn't come at a worse time for the GOP hopeful, who leads Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) in the polls ahead of the November election.