St. Francis Borgia priest accused of sexual abuse of a minor, put on administrative leave

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CEDARBURG -- A Milwaukee priest is on administrative leave after an allegation arose of sexual abuse against a minor. The alleged abuse happened 38 years ago, but only recently was an identification made.

St. Francis Borgia Parish

St. Francis Borgia Parish

According to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the priest denies this allegation and the district attorney has decided not to prosecute. However, this priest will be on leave while an investigation is underway.

A meeting of the pastoral council was held on Thursday, September 3rd at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Cedarburg. Members were told that Father Tom Eichenberger is now on administrative leave.

Eichenberger is accused of sexual assault of a minor back in 1977. This allegation first arose in 2012, as part of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Chapter 11 bankruptcy process -- but only in the last few weeks was a name attached to the claim.

Father Tom Eichenberger

Father Tom Eichenberger

There is a letter being sent to church parishioners from Archbishop Jerome Listecki. It says the allegation against Eichenberger has not been substantiated, and no other allegations have ever been received against him.

Still, the claim will be investigated according to Archdiocese of Milwaukee protocols -- which means an independent investigator is stepping in.

Parishioners are asked to speak with their children as they see appropriate, and if they think there's been an inappropriate behavior, to call Cedarburg police.

In the meantime, a parish director from Grafton will serve in Eichenberger's place.

Parishioners will learn more about the allegation and Eichenberger's status at this weekend's Masses.

6 comments

  • snapjudy

    It’s never too late to speak up about being sexually abused. Let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Father Tom Eichenberger, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

    • Carol Searing Wood

      You might want to put this out to the people at Holy Assumption Parish in West Allis. As 1977 put Fr. Tom at that parish. As the associate pastor. I bet some people there would have some information. Or maybe some people there had abused by him. If what they say he did is true. Still a lot of long time parishioners going to that church. Many would of been school age in 1977.

  • Marie

    Well I do think that something that supposedly happened in 1977 being sat on until 2012 is questionable at best. Knowing this man, I refuse to judge…especially with only one complaint?! I will not be making a snap judgement.

    • Carol Searing Wood

      Something of years ago has me wondering if he did do things to kids. 1977 would of put Fr. Tom at Holy Assumption Parish in West Allis. He was associate pastor. Well an odd one is. The youngest sister of a friend was sexually abused by her brother. The things he did to her. That I will not post here. As they are to horrific for all eyes. Has me thinking the brother learned of those things at church possibly by Fr. Tom. Of course my friend and I don’t have exact proof. The brother would of been 9 or 10 yrs old at the time. When Fr. Tom came to Holy Assumption. He is autistic. But very smart in his own way. So if Fr. Tom were to of done something to him. He probably figured no one would believe it happened. That the brother is autistic. That puts him mentally vulnerable. No judge or court would believe it happened. If he told. Of course the brother is deceased now. He passed on in a van accident a number of years back. My friend and I just put some things together. That happened to her youngest sister. That relate to religious stuff that only a priest would do at mass. That the brother imitated in a bad way on the sister. I do hope the truth comes out. If it is true. That others come forward saying what happened to them. In religion class at Holy Assumption. If I remember right. He did hit my sister on the knuckles with a ruler. Said All eyes on me. Like he done it. Because he felt she was not paying attention in class. It was 7th or 8th grade religion class I think.

  • Carol Searing Wood

    I know the priest well. Fr Tom does not have my respect. As I do for the other priests. As a teen I was a member of the CYO. We could bring our record albums to play on the stereo. I bring Saturday Night Fever. To have him accuse me of stealing it from the CYO room. As that same album went missing some other week. But I never took it. That was my album. I guess they must of found the missing one. I never got an apology from Fr. Tom. I grew up at Holy Assumption Church. Did all my sacraments there. Took Communion and Confession many a time from Fr. Tom. Yes he had a bad attitude for a priest. When I became an adult. It was an aunt of mine who told me Fr. Tom liked to do some serious drinking. She basically called him a drunk. I guess he might of been at Holy Family in Cudahy a while. Which might of explained some of his bad attitude. I think it was him who told my father about how much money was expected of him in the weekly collection. My father said giving comes from the heart. I give what my heart tells me to. I will not let my family needs suffer.

    • marie

      I have known him for over 20 years, not in 77′ but I am not sure what some of these comments have to do either the allegations at hand?

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