Sex Abuse Victims Say Milwaukee Archdiocese Plan For $4M Compensation Fund Is Not Enough

Plan Amounts To $6K Per Victim Involved In Bankruptcy Case

Above, the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Milwaukee. Photo: Sulfur (CC-BY-SA)

Clergy abuse victims say they’re insulted by a bankruptcy re-organization plan presented on Wednesday by the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese.

Three years into the Milwaukee Archdiocese Bankruptcy Case, church leaders have come forward with a re-organization plan they say they will provide lifelong therapy for abuse victims, help for victims that want to sue the church’s insurance company, and $4 million to be divided among those with eligible claims.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki said no amount of money is satisfactory to abuse victims, but he said the church would go into the red to make the payments. “We will be in debt,” said Listecki. “We’re right now insolvent.”

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Abuse victims say the $4 million would be split among the 570 people still in the bankruptcy case, meaning each one would get about $6,000. The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says the amount is far smaller than the half-dozen or so other church bankruptcies in the United States.

Milwaukee resident Monica Barrett, who was sexually assaulted by a priest when she was eight, said the offer itself is abusive.

“It is much like being raped all over again,” said Barrett. We have had to fight for decades to even get to this point, and now he looks at us and says, ‘I’m sorry, we’re out of money. Well, you know what? I don’t buy that.”

Barrett noted she was standing at the edge of the archdiocese headquarters – a property thought to be worth several million dollars, located in the small city of St. Francis.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Milwaukee will now consider the re-organization plan.

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