Victims Group Says Dolan Should Emulate O'Malley
Dolan Defends Milwaukee's Response So Far

By Tom Heinen
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Milwaukee WI]
September 10, 2003

Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and an advocacy group for victim-survivors had vastly different reactions Wednesday to the Boston Archdiocese's agreement to pay $85 million to 552 people who were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests there.

Dolan said he "breathed a sigh of relief" when he read newspaper accounts of the agreement, hoping it will help the church nationwide. His own archdiocese's actions, he added, compared very favorably with Boston's.

But local leaders of the national Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, who was installed July 30, had done more than Dolan had done in a year.

"As I was looking through what the Archdiocese of Boston had agreed to, I was sort of saying, 'Ah, OK. We're OK here. Ah, we're doing that already,' " Dolan said. "We're in good shape, not that we don't have a lot of work to do.

"You never want to get proud . . . but it did serve as kind of a validation for what the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been doing."

Mary Guentner, of SNAP, had a different take.

"We are here today to tell the tale of two bishops," she said. "We were cheered by the good news in Boston that a comprehensive settlement has been reached with victims and their families. We continue to be greatly disheartened, however, that no such agreement - although it has been promised - is even being discussed in Milwaukee or anywhere in Wisconsin. Archbishop O'Malley of Boston has done more in less than one month than Archbishop Dolan has done in an entire year."

SNAP leader Peter Isely then made comparisons. A few examples:

Perpetrators in Boston have been named, and healing can begin, because the public knows who they are and where they have been. All names have not been released here.

Victims are being put on review boards in Boston and not here.

A lay board here that makes recommendations on accused priests' fitness for ministry does not include a victim. But an advisory board that reviews how the archdiocese responds to victims does, said archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski.

O'Malley met with victims and lawyers, promised mediation and delivered in three days by getting personally involved in talks handled by an outside mediator, Isely said. SNAP contends that Dolan hasn't entered into true mediation using outside mediators and attorneys, and that dozens of local victims are avoiding the archdiocese's form of mediation.

Topczewski said that six victims had completed, or nearly completed "pastoral mediation" in the past year - an attempt to achieve a holistic sense of healing by focusing on spiritual/pastoral, emotional/psychological and restorative justice issues. In the fiscal year ended June 30, the archdiocese spent $152,954 for therapy and victim assistance, $115,000 on mediation agreements and $3,358 for mediator fees, he said.

Guentner contended that Dolan did not follow through with promises once it became clear that new Wisconsin legislation to protect against sexual abuse by clergy would not include granting past victims the right to sue the church.

A public hearing on the proposed legislation is scheduled for next week in Madison.

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