The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Wednesday it has agreed to mediation with abuse victims who filed five lawsuits against it earlier this month.
“The archbishop has said his hope is that these cases can be resolved through mediation and that the mediation would focus not on just legalistic issues but spiritual and pastoral support, psychological and emotional support and some restorative justice,” said archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski of Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
Jeffrey Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer who has handled about 500 cases of alleged priest abuse, filed the lawsuits Dec. 6. The allegations involve four men and a woman who say the Rev. George Nuedling abused them as children.
They claim the archdiocese let Nuedling continue serving as a priest even though officials knew he had abused children and admitted in 1987 to sexually abusing a boy at St. Rita Parish in West Allis, where he served from 1948 to 1964.
The lawsuits name the archdiocese and St. John the Evangelist Church in Twin Lakes as defendants. On Monday, the archdiocese filed a motion to consolidate the lawsuits, court records show.
No date has been set but the conversation about mediation has begun, Topczewski said.
Peter Isely, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said he hopes the mediation results in bringing in independent victim counselors, making all documents relating to priest abuse open to the public and restitution.