Plaintiffs ask to see archdiocese’s papers

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Feb. 28, 2012

Attorneys for sex abuse victims in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy case are asking the court to unseal thousands of pages of documents they say will show the breadth and scope of the sex abuse crisis, and alleged coverup, in the local church over the last half century.

At issue is whether the 350 claims filed by clients of attorneys Jeffrey Anderson and Michael Finnegan do or do not detail more than 8,000 individual sex acts and name about 100 suspects – 75 of them priests – not previously identified by the archdiocese, as the two argued at a court hearing this month.

The archdiocese has suggested those numbers are misleading and has asked the court for permission to compile statistical information about the claims for the state attorney general’s office, which has been asked by lawmakers and victim rights advocates to launch an independent investigation into the abuse allegations. The court is scheduled to take up that motion Wednesday.

Anderson argued in documents filed late Monday that the archdiocese’s request doesn’t go far enough. He asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to unseal more than 500 claims, with identifying information about victims and previously unidentified suspects redacted; the depositions of Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Bishop Richard Sklba, both retired, and defrocked priest Daniel A. Budzynski; and numerous other documents.

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