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Judge Approves $21M Milwaukee Archdiocese Settlement

Representative Of Child Abuse Victims Says Many Questions Regarding Bankruptcy Case Remain Unanswered

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

A federal judge has approved a bankruptcy settlement between the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese and its creditors, including nearly 600 clergy abuse victims.

Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley signed off on the settlement at a court hearing on Monday. Kelley said that she did the best she could, and that she was glad to be there to formally sign off on the agreement.

The archdiocese announced the plan for the $21 million settlement this August, after having reached the agreement with a committee of creditors through the help of a private mediator earlier in the summer. The approval of the settlement brings the archdiocese’s five-year bankruptcy case to a formal close, although victims are still calling for further investigation into cases of abuse.

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Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki said he hopes there is some kind of resolution.

“We can move forward,” he said. “There’s going to be no resolution that’s satisfactory to victim survivors or their families.”

The clergy abuse victims will share between $14 million and $21 million after paying their lawyers. Creditors committee chairman Charles Linneman said the attorneys for both sides are making out well.

“It’s been ridiculous that of all the money the church has had to pay out here, that twice as much is going to the all the lawyers combined,” he said.

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said he worries important parts of the bankruptcy case may never be fully explored. He said questions remain about the amount of money being paid to the church’s lawyers and about former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan moving tens of millions of dollars into a cemetery trust fund.

“It is not going to restore or result in a kind of trust or restoration of the church’s credibility concerning this issue,” said Isely.

Victims who were assaulted at the school for the deaf have been calling for Listecki to meet with them and Pope Francis.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the judge’s decision.