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Milwaukee archdiocese releases files of sex-abuse complaints

Catholic World News - July 01, 2013

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has released thousands of pages of documents showing the response of archdiocesan leaders to sex-abuse complaints.

The documents-- which include the personnel files of priests accused of abuse and depositions of past and present archdiocesan officials—were made public on July 1 as part of an agreement with sex-abuse victims, brokered by a bankruptcy court.

"Needless to say, there are some terrible things described in many of the documents," Archbishop Jerome Listecki had said in a message to the faithful of Milwaukee, issued just before the documents were released. He warned his people that they should “prepare to be shocked.”

The documents show a pattern of archdiocesan neglect for sex-abuse victims and attempts to cover up evidence of clerical misconduct. The 6,000 pages of evidence will inevitably raise pointed questions about the priorities of Church leaders including the late Archbishop William Cousins and retired Archbishop Rembert Weakland.

Journalists will also carefully scrutinize the record of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who led the Milwaukee archdiocese from 2002 until his appointment to become Archbishop of New York in 2009. Although he is not accused of shuffling accused priests to new parishes, Cardinal Dolan could face questions about his decision to provide “severance payments” to priests who accepted laicization in order to cut their ties with the archdiocese, and his financial moves to shield assets from potential plaintiffs.

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