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Documents Unsealed in Milwaukee Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse Scandal

Jul 1, 2013

Records set to be released sometime today will shed light on potentially more sexual abuse of children and the cover-up of allegations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the release of these records is part of a bankruptcy settlement deal the Archdiocese of Milwaukee reached with victims of sexual abuse who say the crimes were committed by clergy and other officials within the church. Included in the documents to be released by July 1 is deposition testimony from current New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Dolan had previously served as Archbishop of Milwaukee during a time that followed a raft of allegations against the church, specifically in Wisconsin and the area served by that archdiocese.

We’ve been reporting on the sexual abuse allegations against priests and other officials in the Catholic Church for more than a decade now and still today, new allegations come to light as more victims come forward. In many of the cases we report, victims may at first be hesitant to come forward but eventually do so, especially as other victims tell their stories. To date, the Catholic Church has spent tens of millions of dollars in penalties and settlements that have been paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others stemming back to their childhood. The scandal has put the Catholic Church in desperate financial straits.We’ve been reporting on the sexual abuse allegations against priests and other officials in the Catholic Church for more than a decade now and still today, new allegations come to light as more victims come forward. In many of the cases we report, victims may at first be hesitant to come forward but eventually do so, especially as other victims tell their stories. To date, the Catholic Church has spent tens of millions of dollars in penalties and settlements that have been paid to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others stemming back to their childhood. The scandal has put the Catholic Church in desperate financial straits.

In the Milwaukee documents that will be released today, victims say that the archdiocese orchestrated the transfer of priests who had been accused of sexual abuse against children. Further, the church failed to inform the public as to why these priests were moving, did not warn the communities to which these priests had moved, and failed to notify the authorities of these serious crimes against children, according to AP. Based on our previous accounts, this was the M.O. of the Catholic Church in dealing with trouble priests.

Included in the records from Wisconsin are allegations that the Catholic Church paid upwards of $20,000 to priests who left their positions altogether amid allegations that they were committing these acts against children, according to AP.

It took an act of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to finally allow victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to come forward. Attempts prior to a 2007 ruling were thwarted by a state statute of limitations on fraud cases. The Supreme Court opened a small window through which past victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church — acts committed against them when they were children — could bring forward allegations within six years after that fraud was eventually uncovered. In light of this ruling, the Catholic Church entered bankruptcy as it expected to be confronted with numerous lawsuits, AP reports.


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