WAUWATOSA — Wauwatosa Police didn’t press charges after a second investigation into an allegation of inappropriate behavior against Salvatorian Fr. Robert Marsicek, former shared pastor of Mother of Good Counsel, Milwaukee, and St. Pius X, Wauwatosa, Parishes.
According to an incident report filed April 22, the police department conducted an investigation into a mother’s report “that her daughter made a disclosure regarding inappropriate behavior,” including kissing, rubbing her back and bottom, that ocurred sometime between last September and March 27.
A forensic interview with the child on May 3 indicated that the disclosures made by the child had changed during the interview, and weren’t reliable, and that she seemed “coached” or “overly questioned” by her mother, according to the report.
The report said that the conclusion doesn’t mean the mother’s initial disclosure wasn’t truthful, “but that the information obtained during the forensic interview would not be useful in terms of potential criminal prosecution.”
The mother told police in a follow-up meeting to discuss the interview results that she hadn’t coached her daughter, “but when the initial disclosure had been made, she was very concerned and did over question (daughter’s name redacted),” according to the report.
The report noted that sufficient evidence didn’t exist to proceed with the case, and that Fr. Marsicek wouldn’t be interviewed because his attorney indicated he wouldn’t answer questions.
The police recommended that the mother file complaints with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Salvatorian order regarding her daughter, according to the report.
The April 25 issue of your Catholic Herald reported that while the order said Wauwatosa Police decided not to file criminal charges regarding a previous investigation into an incident at Wauwatosa Catholic, allegations against the priest were being investigated in Sacramento, Calif., where Fr. Marsicek served at a parish between 1988 and 1996.
Salvatorian Fr. Joseph Rodrigues, provincial of the Society of the Divine Savior, wrote in a press release dated May 14 that the order learned the California case is active again, but doesn’t know how long the investigation will take.
“We do know that we want to help the individual and assist authorities in their investigation in whatever way we can,” he wrote about an allegation made in May 2012 by a third party regarding behavior that took place about 20-25 years ago. “Once we were made aware of whom the alleged victim was, we reached out several times these past months to offer pastoral support.”
Fr. Rodrigues said in the written statement that the order has accepted Fr. Marsicek’s resignation from his assignments and request for retirement.
Fr. Marsicek, who was removed from public ministry since March 28, continues to be under the Salvatorians’ supervision, and the order’s internal investigation of him “is in progress,” according to the release.
More than six priests helped serve at the parishes until the end of April when Fr. Daniel Pekarske was assigned as temporary administrator at Mother of Good Counsel Parish, and Fr. Paul Portland at St. Pius X Parish. Both are Salvatorian priests.
Fr. Rodrigues said in the written statement that the order has learned through this process that aspects of its policies and procedures need to change.
“We are committed to changing the way we respond to concerns that are brought to our attention,” he wrote. “We will also change the our response when investigations are held up for long periods of time like they have been in California.”
He hopes that what the Salvatorians have learned will help other religious orders and dioceses.
“We are deeply sorry and enormously sad for everyone involved in this,” Fr. Rodrigues wrote. “Our priority, first and foremost, is the well-being of our children and families. We have no tolerance for sexual abuse. Zero.”