Lee County Sheriff Clears Fr Senk

February 23, 2017

Rev Senk:

Bob Kern handed me your e-mail dated 2/13/17 regarding your concerns relative to the investigation our agency conducted. As I explained to Bob, and as I suspect you understand, we at the Sheriff’s Office received a formal complaint from a family member, and we had an obligation to investigate same.

Upon review of the complaint and with consideration for the totality of circumstances, we determined that there was “probably cause” to believe that wrongdoing may have occurred. It is important to note that the “probable cause” standard for law enforcement is far lower than the burden of proof that the State needs to prosecute the case. That burden is referred to as “beyond a reasonable doubt.” At that point, the case is closed, and you are not guilty of anything. While being the subject of an investigation is never pleasant, neither is being accused of something without an investigation to either confirm the accusation(s) or render it unsubstantiated. In your case, our system of justice cleared you of the charge; thereby, closing the door on the accusations made.

As for the Catholic Church, Bishop Dwayne, and their handling of this issue, I have absolutely no control over that.

In summary, this was never anything personal; however, we have an obligation to investigate complaints and as we did in your case, double-check everything with the State Attorney before making an arrest. I am reminded of an old saying among carpenters, “measure twice and cut once.” Again, it seems our system cleared you, but the Church is exerting pressure as though you were found guilty. That is regrettable.

Sheriff Mike Scott


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