Archdiocese Seeks Court Ruling to Refute Abuse Allegation

By Annysa Johnson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 21, 2012

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which faces more than a dozen civil fraud lawsuits over its handling of clergy sex abuse cases, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January. As the case proceeds, we'll have updates, analysis, documents and more.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee signaled Tuesday that it will move to deny an assertion by a victims' attorney that claims filed in its bankruptcy detail 8,000 incidents of sexual abuse and name as many as 100 offenders not previously identified by the archdiocese.

The move comes a day after nine legislators asked Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to investigate the alleged offenses and anyone who might have concealed sex crimes against children.

Attorneys for the archdiocese on Tuesday filed a motion calling the assertion by attorney Jeffrey Anderson misleading and said it appears to compromise the confidentiality order issued by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to protect victims who seek anonymity.

The archdiocese is seeking a clarification of the order so it can respond to Anderson's allegations without identifying victims.

If approved, they said they would provide a statistical analysis of the allegations detailed in the claims to the attorney general that will rebut Anderson's assertion.

In a hearing this month, Anderson said claims filed by his 350 clients alone detail 8,000 sex offense and name 100 offenders - about 70 of them priests - who do not appear on the archdiocese's online list of 44 priests who've been restricted from ministry because of credible allegations of abuse.

Because the vast majority of the 570 claims filed in the bankruptcy are sealed, Anderson's claim could not be independently verified. But a review of the unsealed files and interviews with victims details allegations involving priests, nuns, teachers and others dating to at least the 1950s.


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