MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Diocese of Madison has begun an internal investigation into personal files for evidence of clergy misconduct and sexual abuse of minors, the diocese announced Wednesday.
In a press release, the diocese said that former Bishop Robert Morlino began the investigation in October of 2018. The investigation was put on hold because of his death.
Current Bishop Donald Hying has now resumed the investigation. The diocese says the results will be revealed over the next several months.
Defenbaugh and Associates, an independent security and investigations firm, will assist with the investigation into sexual abuse and misconduct.
“In requesting that a trusted and expert, outside investigation team scrutinize clergy files, the Diocese of Madison reaffirms its commitment to protect children and young people, as well as to be open and transparent with victims, faithful Catholics, and the larger community,” according to the press release.
The diocese did not say whether a recent allegation of sexual abuse or misconduct sparked the investigation.
The diocese says the investigation will include a “comprehensive examination” of documents dating back to the founding of the Diocese in 1946. The diocese says that any findings that reveal misconduct by diocese clergy will be turned over to the diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board, and in turn law enforcement.
The dioceses has provided its rules regarding sexual misconduct and abuse on its website.
According to the diocese’s rules, any allegations against living priest, deacons and seminarians will result in immediate removal from the ministry, once an investigation has concluded.
The Diocese of Madison has already revealed the names of seven priests accused of sexual abuse. At least five of them have been removed from the ministry.
Right now, the diocese says it has one open preliminary investigation into a long-diseased priest. A second investigation is on hold pending the completion of criminal proceedings against him.