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Catholic Archdiocese in Wisconsin Seek the Protection of Bankruptcy Protection in Wake of Child Abuse Allegations and Lawsuits

By Jonathan Safran, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, publicly stated it would filed for bankruptcy in the midst of pending child abuse lawsuits. According to Archbishop Jerome Listecki, the reason for filing for bankruptcy was because the pending sexual-abuse lawsuits could leave the archdiocese with debts it could not afford. However, one lawyer claims it is a delay tactic being used by the church to avoid opening its records to public scrutiny. In fact, Jeff Anderson, an attorney of St. Paul, Minnesota, who has filed 23 lawsuits against the church, stated he thought the bankruptcy filing was done to delay his deposition of Milwaukee Bishop Richard Sklba. Anderson and his clients have been pushing the archdiocese to make public the names of the priests accused of the sexual child abuse and the church officials who protected them.

The tactic has also been used by other archdioceses who have filed for bankruptcy on the eve of trials or major depositions. The Milwaukee archdiocese is the eighth in the United States to seek bankruptcy protection since the clergy scandal took off in 2002. The pending lawsuits include allegations against six priests. Amongst these priests, one is accused of abusing around 200 boys at a suburban school for deaf students from 1950 to 1974. To read more on this story please read Archdiocese of Milwaukee files for bankruptcy in the midst of sexual child abuse lawsuits: Justifiable or Delay Tactic?