Minutes from 2003 Confirm: Dolan Discussed Paying $20,000 Each to Child Molesters to Quietly Leave the Priesthood
May 30, 2012
Minutes from 2003 meeting confirm: Dolan discussed paying $20,000 each to child molesters to quietly leave the priesthood
Policy appears to have been implemented, as revealed in church disbursements to pedophile clerics
Meeting also shows beginning of Dolan's "shell game" by moving tens of millions of dollars into newly invented "trusts"
Victims want current Archbishop Listecki to reveal all payouts and costs of sex offenders, release the Milwaukee "Dolan Papers", including all Finance Council minutes
Victim/survivors of childhood sexual violence by clergy of the Milwaukee archdiocese, including leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org/SNAPwisconsin.com) will release and discuss newly uncovered minutes from a March 2003 Milwaukee Archdiocese Finance council meeting where former Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Milwaukee auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba discuss using church funds to:
–pay off known priest pedophiles and child molesters $20,000 each to quietly leave the priesthood,
–set up a "restorative justice" program to prevent victims from receiving compensation for injuries comparable to cases being filed against the archdiocese of Milwaukee in California, and
–move millions of dollars from the archdiocese into a newly invented "trust" to prevent compensating victims, the first of several such "trusts" to be set up before the archdiocese declared bankruptcy in 2011.
Victims will also be emailing a letter Wednesday to current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki demanding:
–full financial disclosure of all payouts and "laicization" bonuses to sex offender clerics,
–which charitable funds were used to pay-off clergy sex offenders, and
–the release of the "Dolan Papers", including all minutes of the monthly Archdiocese Finance Council chaired by Dolan and auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba
Wednesday, May 30, 11:30 a.m.
On the front steps of the Federal Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee
Minutes from a March, 2003 meeting surfacing this week in a filing in Federal Bankruptcy Court show that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, soon after beginning his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee, was preparing to pay pedophile clergy $20,000 each to quietly leave the priesthood through the Vatican's administrative process, or "laicization." The payouts, $10,000 at the beginning of the process and $10,000 more at the completion of it, were provided independent of the cleric's salary, pension and benefits and appears to have had no restrictions placed on it.
That the "payouts to pedophile priests" policy was put into effect is confirmed by two sources: a 2006 admission by the archdiocese that serial Milwaukee child predator Fr. Franklyn Becker was paid $10,000 coincident with signing his laicization papers and a July 2010 announcement by the archdiocese, just months before filing for bankruptcy, that nine Milwaukee priests were undergoing laicization and would be paid $10,000 each. At the time the archdiocese claimed the costs were for "living expenses". Church officials refused to name the nine priests.
Attending and co-chairing the 2003 meeting were auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba and the archdiocesan finance officer, Wayne Schneider. It was Sklba and Schneider who had earlier authorized the secret payout of nearly half a million dollars as hush money for former Archbishop Rembert Weakland to cover up allegations that Weakland had sexually abused a Marquette University student.
During the meeting, Dolan and his Finance Council also discuss paying off victims of priests $30,000 each (or $10,000 more to the victim than the offender). The payouts would be engineered through a "restorative justice" program to stave off the anticipated settlements the archdiocese would likely face if victims were allowed to file cases in civil courts. Testimony and records in the current bankruptcy now show that Dolan did implement a victim "mediation" program that was designed to obtain victims signatures on legal releases, often with no lawyers present, and deliberately mislead survivors about the church's prior knowledge of abusive priests.
The minutes also show that already in 2003 Dolan was beginning a series of financial maneuvers to place millions of dollars into newly invented "trusts" so that victims and later, bankruptcy creditors, would be prevented from accessing those assets. Three such trusts would eventually be set up under Dolan before he left to become the archbishop of New York in 2010, with their total amount estimated at over a hundred million dollars.
Victims, in a letter to Listecki to be emailed on Wednesday, will contend that the new document shows that pedophile priests were being paid off to leave the priesthood and dumped secretly into the community.
"The federal bankruptcy court," write victims to Listecki, "would never have allowed payments to pedophiles as part of a restructuring plan, much less unrestricted payouts. Appallingly, the archdiocese has no problem negotiating with pedophiles."
Instead of restitution for hundreds of victims, Listecki has proposed to the court that that the archdiocese be allowed to set up a limited therapy fund, operated by church officials. "How ironic," concludes Wednesday's letter to Listecki from survivors, "that when you [Listecki] paid off pedophile priests you did so with no restrictions on the money whatsoever. That money may be being used by them right now to aid in the commission of further crimes against children."
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259
John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575
Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Director, 414.915.4374
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us at SNAPnetwork.org and SNAPwisconsin.com