500-plus sex-abuse claims filed against archdiocese as deadline looms

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Feb. 1, 2012

More than 500 people have filed sex abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy in advance of today’s 4 p.m. deadline. It is the largest number of claims among the eight Catholic dioceses to seek bankruptcy protection since 2004 in response to sex abuse allegations, and on par with a Jesuit bankruptcy that covered five states.

Victims and their attorneys called the numbers staggering and just the tip of the iceberg, noting that statistically only a small percentage of sex abuse victims come forward.

Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said the church had cast a wide net for victims in compliance with the court’s instructions, and had no expectations regarding the numbers that would come in. He reiterated Archbishop Jerome Listecki’s assertion that it would seek to bar all claims it is not obligated to cover under bankruptcy law, regardless of whether the abuse occurred.

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