WI Lutheran Pastor Resigns After Sending Rape Threat To Local Blogger
April 2, 2015

On March 25th, Milwaukee-based blogger Claire Van Fossen posted an article on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's website which condemned the repeated incidents of police brutality that the nation has been dealing with.

As one might expect when someone, especially a woman, challenges right wing prejudices and power trips, the haters came out of the woodwork and she started to receive an onslaught of hate emails.

[***Trigger warning: The email in the image below contains graphic language and threats***]

One email was so nasty that it stood out from the rest:


(Email address redacted)

What made the email even more shocking was that the author, David Wendt, is a Lutheran minister.

After Van Fossen started sharing the email, Wendt denied sending it, even though he admitted that it was his email address. Wendt resigned shortly after this was brought to light:

Van Fossen’s March 25 post, headlined, “A just and free world means a world without police,” criticizes police, saying, among other things, “They threaten us with violence and incarceration and target the most oppressed and vulnerable people in our society.”

An email confirmed as being from Wendt’s Yahoo email address, dated March 27, slammed Van Fossen as a liberal — in threatening terms so crude that they are unpublishable in a family newspaper.

The email also derided Van Fossen’s post as idiotic and asked whether the sender and friends should drop by to rape her, adding, “WHEW! At least I won’t have to worry about you calling the police.”

Wendt, who lives in Onalaska, called Onalaska police to his home Monday night to report the matter. The responding police officer asked him to bring his computer in to the station for forensic analysis, Chief Jeff Trotnic said.

First Lutheran congregation President Mick Schwedler confirmed this morning that the email address is Wendt’s but said Wendt denied sending the message.

“We are concerned for the pastor and the congregation,” Schwedler said during an interview. “It was my responsibility as president to ask him if he did it, and he said no.”

Late Tuesday afternoon, Schwedler told the Tribune, “Pastor Wendt has submitted his resignation.”

Asked whether that meant that Wendt had written the email in question, Schwedler said, “This is a personnel matter for the congregation to deal with. That’s all I can tell you.”

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