Milwaukee Archdiocese Releases Documentation On Child Abuse

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The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee released thousands of documents related to decades of clergy members sexually abusing children today.

Critics say the items show a pattern of cowardice among the clerics.

The documents have been released as part of the bankruptcy case involving the Milwaukee archdiocese. Attorneys for abuse victims note the documents include a letter from former Milwaukee archbishop and now New York cardinal Tim Dolan, asking the Vatican for permission to move $57 million into a cemetery fund, and away from any potential victims’ claims. Other letters deal with efforts to conceal details about abusive priests.

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Victims lawyer Jeffery Anderson calls it cowardice:

Anderson: “Cowardice among the clerics at the time … contrasted to the courage of the survivors, who at great risk disclosed the secret, shared it, and demanded exposure and closure.”

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests says Archbishop Dolan’s efforts to move the money into the cemetery fund amounts to fraud.

Isely: “He should be under federal investigation. We’ll be emailing a letter today to the federal prosecutor of the Eastern District [of Wisconsin], asking him to investigate this fraudulent transfer and conveyance.”

Current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki says he hopes making the documents public will aid abuse survivors, families, and others in understanding the past, reviewing the present and allowing the Church in southeastern Wisconsin to continue moving forward. Listecki says Church leaders and other professionals tried their best to deal with the abuse issue given the knowledge available at the time.

Victims are upset with Listecki’s remarks.

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