ST. FRANCIS — Copies, not originals, of sexual abuse reports were shredded by Archbishop Emeritus Rembert G. Weakland according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s response to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dec. 3 article.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee responded to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s article regarding the former archbishop’s shredding of copies of sex abuse reports in a Dec. 4 e-mail addressed to pastors, parish directors and diocesan priests.

The Journal-Sentinel article reported that Archbishop Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney.

The information comes from a 1993 deposition in which Archbishop Weakland admitted destroying copies of the reports in his office. The partial transcript of the deposition, which came to light during the discovery process in more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits filed against the archdiocese, was released by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

In that e-mail, Julie Wolf, communications director for the archdiocese, clarified that copies, not originals, of the reports were shredded, and that Milwaukee District Attorney, E. Michael McCann, reviewed all documents related to clergy sexual abuse in 2003.

“If the current Milwaukee County District Attorney would like to review the cases again, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee would support that decision,” Wolf said in the e-mail.

Wolf’s response, listing “facts you may want to share to set the record straight” also said that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee “remains committed to working proactively toward resolution of any issues brought to us by victims/survivors of sexual abuse as a minor by diocesan clergy,” and that “Most importantly, there is no clergy member with a substantiated report of sexual abuse of a minor in public ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.”