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Milwaukee Archdiocese still hopes settlement can be reached with abuse victims


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - The Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese still hopes that a settlement can be reached with hundreds of sex abuse victims, after a court-ordered mediator failed to strike a deal.

Both sides said Monday that their mediation – which Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley ordered in late July – had broken down.

About 575 people have filed financial claims against the Archdiocese, saying they deserve compensation after being sexually abused by priests a number of years ago.

The church filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of 2011, saying it needed to compensate the abuse victims while having enough money left over to keep operating the 10 county archdiocese.

The matter now goes back to Kelley’s courtroom, where several issues must be decided. The victims say the archdiocese has been trying to hide settlement funds in various accounts. And they want the judge to pry out $57 million in a cemetery trust, and $35 million in a seven-year-old fund.

Meanwhile, the church has asked that the majority of financial claims be thrown out – including those which involve religious orders, and are past the statute of limitations. The church also wants to drop cases in which settlements were already reached.

Victims’ attorney Jeffrey Anderson has also asked that sealed documents be released that provide details of the sex abuse.