Judge lets archdiocese bankruptcy abuse ruling stand

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

[court document]

By Annysa Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

A federal judge on Monday handed partial victories to both the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the sex abuse victims who make up the vast majority of creditors in its bankruptcy.

The ruling, by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, lets stand a February decision by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley dismissing one victim’s claim and allowing two others to move forward, at least for now.

The three cases were seen as test cases in which the archdiocese argued that a significant number of victims of clergy sexual abuse had enough information on the church’s handling of cases to have filed fraud claims years earlier, and that the statute of limitations expired before those victims stepped forward. It also sought to exclude cases that involve religious offenders, teachers and others it does not consider its employees, and cases where the victims received prior settlements.

A decision to dismiss all three cases would have opened the door for the archdiocese to remove most of the 574 sex abuse claims involved in the bankruptcy proceedings, victims and their attorneys have said.

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