Milwaukee Archdiocese Releases Priest Sexual Abuse Records

Records secured by victims fighting archdiocese in bankruptcy court
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Suggested by Ghille
Posted Jul 1, 2013 3:23 PM CDT
Milwaukee Archdiocese Releases Priest Sexual Abuse Records
Archbishop Timothy Dolan.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has released 6,000 pages of documents detailing the church's response (and lack thereof) to sexual abuse by its priests over several decades—including the personnel files of 42 priests known to have sexually abused minors, and the depositions of church leaders. Amongst the depositions is that of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a former archbishop of Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel reports. The documents were released as part of the archdiocese's bankruptcy, in a deal with victims suing for fraud, the AP reports.

The victims say the archdiocese defrauded them by knowingly transferring abusive priests around parishes and schools to cover up their crimes. Among the personnel files released are those of the late Father Lawrence Murphy, alleged to have molested as many as 200 deaf boys, and Sigfried Widera, who was accused of 42 counts of child abuse before committing suicide in 2003, the Journal Sentinel reports. Dolan is not accused of moving problem priests around, but he did oversee payments made to abusive priests when they left the church, some as high as $20,000, the AP reports. (Read more Catholic Church stories.)

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