Madison Priest Faces Child Sexual Assault Charge

A Madison priest faces a second-degree sexual assault of a child charge following an incident that dates to 2004, according to Dane County Court documents.

The Madison Roman Catholic Diocese released a statement detailing the background of the Rev. Joseph Gibbs Clauder in the church. Clauder was removed from his public role as a priest in 1999 the diocese became aware of an inappropriate relationship with an adult woman.

The diocese said that in 2009, the woman, who at the time was a minor, came forward and claimed Clauder had made inappropriate sexual contact with the woman in 2004.

“There is no place in the priesthood for those who would abuse a child, regardless of when the crime was committed,” said Diocese of Madison spokesman Brent King. “We as a church and as a diocese have promised appropriate recognition, precaution and reporting, with regard to sexual abuse of minors and we renew that promise.”

King said that after a preliminary investigation into the testimonies and review of the facts, the accusations against Clauder were found to be credible by the Diocesan Sexual Abuse Review Board.

Bishop Robert Morlino, therefore, referred the case to the Vatican, for its determination, King said.

“In recent days, the diocese has received direction to proceed with a canonical trial, and we will pursue this trial after the conclusion of any criminal or civil trial,” King said.

Clauder will be back in court to make an initial appearance on Thursday morning.

“We have remained, and will continue to remain, in close contact with the victim and the victim?s family, offering our prayers and support, as they deal with this traumatic situation,” King said.