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Milwaukee Archdiocese's bankruptcy filing now three years old

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - It was three years ago this month when the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  

The church is still trying to determine how to reorganize its finances, so it can carry out its religious mission while paying millions of dollars to victims of sex abuse by former priests. 575 abuse victims have filed damage claims.  

The 10 county archdiocese is still preparing a re-organization plan, and officials have not said when it will be filed in bankruptcy court. Church spokesman Jerry Topczewski says it would let ministry activities continue while creating a "lifetime therapy fund" for abuse victims.  

All sides have spent around $11 million in legal fees in what the Journal Sentinel calls one of the most contentious among nine Catholic bankruptcy cases in the country.  

The Milwaukee Archdiocese and its creditors have battled in court over the sale of church to pay the abuse victims -- and which victims are eligible to be compensated.  Legal experts say those battles may continue for years.  

Pamela Foohey of the University of Illinois College of Law predicts, "multiple objections on multiple bases."  

Topczewski says, "It's time for the archdiocese to return its focus to its ministry of charity, service, and education." He added that "outreach to abuse survivors will always be a part of that ministry."

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)