Claims Deadline Passes for Clergy Sex Abuse Victims

February 1, 2012

[with video]

A crucial deadline passed late Wednesday afternoon for the victims of a clergy sex abuse case to file their claims.

There are more than 500 claims.

One survivor said he's increasingly frustrated with the Catholic Church after suffering years of abuse.

"He attacked me once in the sacristy after a mass," Catholic Church sex abuse victim Mark Salmon said.

For Salmon, the deadline for survivors to file claims is just the latest chapter in a battle he's fought for nearly 50 years.

"Being raped and sodomized as a kid was the easy part. Dealing with the Milwaukee archdiocese is where the rage comes in," Salmon said.

The Milwaukee archdiocese has filed for bankruptcy and Salmon said he is among hundreds of abuse survivors who have filed financial claims, seeking reparation for decades of molestation.

As part of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court order, abuse survivors had to fill out a multi-page form including details of how they said they were sexually abused in the church.

Salmon said the diocese are trying to deny claims by arguing it isn't financially responsible for abuse carried out by local priests or teachers not directly employed by the diocese.

"For example, when they said they have 43 known perpetrators that they put on a list, that's only half of what they have. They're not counting religious order priests, and all the other victims have no recourse then," Salmon said.

"We feel pretty sure that by the end of the day, by our deadline this afternoon, we're going to top about 500 claims," Milwaukee archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said.

The diocese said all finances have been publicly audited and legally managed.

"The archbishop has asked the bankruptcy court for permission to establish a therapy fund so that victims who come forward from this point on will have access to resources to help them get the therapy that they need to heal," Wolf said.

A hearing is scheduled for next week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court that will set the stage for which claims from abuse survivors will be allowed to move forward as part of the payout in bankruptcy settlement.








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