Posts Tagged Archdiocese of Milwaukee
Archdiocese of Milwaukee says it won’t participate in AG investigation of clergy sex abuse / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Survivors of abuse and their advocates have long called for Wisconsin officials to take action, contending any review should be conducted by independent authorities and not the same institutions accused of perpetuating and covering up misconduct.Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is pushing back against a recently announced attorney general investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, calling it a display of ‘anti-Catholic bigotry’ and a violation of the First Amendment.
“In a letter from the archdiocese’s attorney, Frank LoCoco of the Milwaukee firm Husch Blackwell, contends Attorney General Josh Kaul doesn’t have the authority to investigate the Catholic dioceses of the state and that doing so would go against the U.S. Constitution and state laws.
“In the letter, LoCoco suggests that the investigation may be motivated by anti-religious sentiments, and that the probe is looking back too far in time.
“The first-term, Democratic attorney general announced the investigation in April.
“Led by Kaul’s Department of Justice, the probe focuses on abuse allegations against clergy and other faith leaders, many of which date back decades and involve religious officials who are now dead.
“An investigation will be difficult to get underway with the archdiocese declining to produce documents, though.
“In a Tuesday (Jun. 1) email to congregants, Archbishop Jerome Listecki did vow to cooperate with any investigation into living members of the clergy brought forward during this inquiry. He wrote that instead of focusing on past abuse, Kaul should be investigating new claims.
“In an email Thursday afternoon, Kaul said the investigation was launched in pursuit of accountability, healing and to prevent future abuse.”
By Laura Schulte and Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Read more …
In a blow to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its ongoing bankruptcy, a federal appeals court on Monday (Mar. 9) put a $60 million cemetery trust fund back in play to potentially settle claims related to sexual abuse by priests.
“The ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the church cannot use the First Amendment or a 1993 law aimed at protecting religious freedom to shield the funds.
“The court also said the judge who put the money off limits, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, should have disclosed the fact his parents and other relatives are buried in a cemetery maintained by the trust fund. The court remanded the case to a different district judge.”
By Bruce Vielmetti and Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Judge orders mediation in Milwaukee archdiocese bankruptcy case to control legal bills / Associated Press
A federal judge ordered mediation Wednesday July 30) in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s bankruptcy case, saying she believed it was the best bet for resolving the hard-fought case and keeping more money from going to lawyers rather than sexual abuse victims …
“A reorganization plan proposed by the archdiocese earlier this year would give 128 victims roughly half of an $8 million insurance settlement. Others who have filed claims would receive nothing. Meanwhile, attorneys’ fees are now estimated at $13.7 million, and victims have been outraged by the idea that attorneys would receive more money than them …
“Monica Barrett, an abuse survivor who now speaks for others, said success in mediation will depend how the archdiocese approaches it.
“‘If Archbishop (Jerome) Listecki comes to the table with a realistic and compromising mentality, indeed this might be able to get resolved,’ Barrett said. “… However if Archbishop Listecki continues to use this bankruptcy action as a hammer to use against survivors, nothing will get resolved. Up until this point, the only people who have been asked to compromise anything have been the victim-survivors.'”
By M.L. Johnson, Associated Press, in Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.
The Milwaukee archdiocese will walk away from bankruptcy relatively unscathed if its proposed reorganization plan is accepted by Judge Susan V. Kelley.
“Although it was lawsuits brought by 570 alleged childhood victims of clergy sex abuse that forced the archdiocese into bankruptcy court, a close reading of the 337-page document shows that the vast majority of those claims will get no financial compensation from a $4 million fund for survivors.
“Most other creditors in the case will be paid, although some will get less than they say they are due.
“The archdiocese has no plans to reduce its annual $24 million operating budget or sell any property. It will have to put some property up as collateral to “borrow” $2 million from the controversial cemetery perpetual care trust fund — the same $57 million fund church officials fought to keep out of the bankruptcy case that is now being appealed.”
By Marie Rhode, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.
In the 1980s, the bishops of the Milwaukee archdiocese dealt with priests who sexually abused minors in much the same way they handled those who were alcoholics or even those who had credit problems: they assumed the issue could be resolved through therapy or similar means, former Archbishop Rembert George Weakland said in a 2011 deposition released this week.”
You can read Kate Simmons’ National Catholic Reporter article, “Weakland: Milwaukee Bishops Didn’t Disclose Accused Abusers,” by clicking here.
At Voice of the Faithful’s 10th Year Conference in Boston this past September, Fr. James Connell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and advocate for clergy sexual abuse victims/survivors, spoke about truth before healing in the Catholic Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal. As one aspect in the search for that truth, Fr. Connell sent a letter on Apr. 29 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asking for an investigation into Archbishop of Newark John Myers’ handling of the case of Rev. Michael Fugee, who pleaded guilty to groping a boy but was kept in ministry. You can read Fr. Connell’s letter on National Catholic Reporter’s website under the title Milwaukee Priest Wants Archbishop Myers Investigated.
The Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome E. Listeki, announced on Wednesday that he has authorized the release of thousands of pages of documents on sexual abuse by Catholic priests, including cases that date back 80 years. His announcement came one day before a judge was scheduled to hear a motion from abuse victims asking for the documents to be released. The files, which will be posted on the archdiocesan Web site by July 1, include the legal depositions of former Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, now the archbishop of New York.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
A week before Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is set to leave New York for Rome, where his name is being floated as a candidate for pope, he was questioned in Manhattan for three hours on Wednesday behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests.” By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times