Victim, cop slam archdiocese’s efforts to get priest out of prison early

Sex Abuse | ‘600 Years Wouldn’t Be Enough’

A victim of sex-abusing priest Norbert Maday and the detective who helped put the clergyman behind bars said Wednesday they were appalled and disheartened by efforts by the Archdiocese of Chicago to spring Maday from prison.

“It made me sick,” said Oshkosh police Detective Gerald Forseth, now retired.

Referring to a letter from Cardinal Francis George to Maday that six years in prison was “enough,” the victim, now 40, said in an interview that “600 years wouldn’t be enough.”

Laicized in December 2007, Maday was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to 20 years in jail by a Winnebago County, Wis., judge. Forseth, who investigated the case, including visiting Chicago parishes where Maday worked, said Wednesday he had read Sun-Times accounts of the efforts by George and other archdiocese officials to get Maday released.

The archdiocese’s efforts didn’t surprise him. When he came to Chicago to investigate, the archdiocese “stonewalled us at every turn,” Forseth said.

“[Maday] was well-connected, no doubt about it. There was a lot of pull there. He had a lot of friends.

“This guy was a total pervert, and the church knew this, and they kept moving him from church to church,” recalled Forseth, who said he found eight other Maday victims during the course of his investigation in Chicago. “And there is no accountability for all the moving, all the cover-up they did.”

Asking to be identified only as Mike, Maday’s victim said his abuser “should never walk the streets again.”

George might now be more inclined than ever to agree, not least of all because text of his sworn deposition and a $12.6 million sex abuse settlement from the archdiocese were made public Tuesday.

But he didn’t always.

“Hopefully, some good souls will see that the six years of incarceration you have already endured are enough to satisfy the state and any sense of justice,” George wrote to Maday in March 2000.

“I think he obviously disagrees with that because he’s changed his position,” said the cardinal’s spokeswoman, Colleen Dolan.

Like Forseth, Mike, too, was disturbed by the recent revelations.

“I think that it’s disheartening to the victims, and it re-victimizes them when this information comes out that the cardinal would be writing letters on behalf of a convicted sex offender,” he said. Mike is among 16 victims who’ll receive a settlement from the archdiocese.

Mike said his own history of abuse by Maday began in 1982, when Maday was stationed at St. Bede the Venerable Church in Chicago, and ended in 1984.

Maday’s abuse allegedly included putting his hands down Mike’s pants.

“[Priests] were considered godlike, and everything they said and did was not to be questioned,” Mike said of his upbringing.

Maday was scheduled to be released in October 2007 but is being held at a state-run facility in Winnebago as Wisconsin officials move to commit him indefinitely as a “sexually violent person,” said Wisconsin Department of Corrections spokeswoman Rachel Krueger. A trial is set for Nov. 17.