Judge Rules Fraud Cases against Milwaukee Archdiocese Can More Forward

February 9, 2012

Victims who said they have been abused by members of the Catholic Church said they won in federal court Thursday.

A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled more than 500 cases of fraud will be allowed to go to trial.

These new cases expose 100 additional alleged abusers, 70 of them priests, who have never been named before

The claims come from representatives of abuse survivors who are trying to sue the Milwaukee archdiocese in federal bankruptcy court.

The archdiocese had asked for all victims to come forward so cases could be settled.

In response, more than 570 claims were filed. Some were new claims of clergy sex abuse.

Victims of Catholic clergy sex abuse declared victory outside the federal courthouse in Milwaukee.

Peter Isely represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP.

"This is the most important thing that came out of today's hearings. There are 10 individuals that are named in these claims that have sexually assaulted or raped or abused a child or a minor In this archdiocese," Isely said

Isley said court documents show 70 priests have never before been publicly identified.

The judge ruled in favor of the church on two of three requests to block claims based on a prior financial settlement and because legally, too much time had passed since the acts of abuse.

But more than 550 claims alleging thousands of acts of sexual abuse by priests and other church leaders may go to trial.

"We want to see arrests, and we want to see people held accountable," Isely said.

U.S. bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelly disclosed that she had been raised Catholic, and she had gone to Catholic schools, and that she had a deep and abiding respect for the Catholic Church. But she said her ruling was not based on emotion; it was based on the law.

Lawyers representing the Milwaukee archdiocese said they could not comment on the judge's decision or SNAP's claims.

"We're not in a position to comment until we talk to our clients. It wouldn't be appropriate," Milwaukee archdiocese attorney Frank LoCoco said/.

The judge ruled on three issues involving only three cases, but attorneys said the rule of law applies to hundreds of cases, and that's why more than 550 will now move on in the court.

The archdiocese released the following statement late Thursday afternoon: "The arguments before Judge Kelley were very complex, and the archdiocese is appreciative that she moved the case along and decided the motions so promptly. The archdiocese is hopeful that it will be able to use the decisions to assist the parties in the negotiation of a plan of reorganization, and to move the Chapter 11 proceeding closer to resolution."








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