Archdiocese Bankruptcy Could Seal Documents

January 6, 2011

MILWAUKEE - Michael Sneesby received a $75,000 settlement from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, but says what he really wants is personnel files on his alleged abuser Father Frederick Bistricky

"These documents definitely could help," Sneesby said.

The archdiocese says it filed for bankruptcy this week because it essentially ran out of money settling clergy abuse lawsuits. After the bankruptcy process, no more victims can sue. It will further limit access to archived paperwork.

What this bankruptcy process will do is, at the end, is absolutely finish, seal and put a rock over the whole issue of priest pedophilia," said Marquette University's William Thorn.

The archdiocese says legally, it can only release personnel files under subpoena. Archbishop Jerome Listecki insists everything they can release is already public.

"In terms of hiding anything, there isn't anything to hide," Listecki said during Tuesday's news conference.

In Sneesby's case, Bistricky died and was never criminally prosecuted. There is little chance authorities will ever ask for his records.

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