ST. FRANCIS — The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed two motions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Monday aimed at protecting the interests of victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse according to a press release from the archdiocese.
The Chapter 11 reorganization requires the archdiocese to seek court approval of “any expenditure that falls outside normal operating expenses to protect creditors’ interest in maximizing funds available for distribution,” it said.
The release stated that the motions ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley for permission to continue paying for psychological counseling and therapy for those who have requested it, to continue making installment payments to victims/survivors as specified in existing settlement agreements; and to establish special procedures for delivering official notices to the victims/survivors that keeps identities confidential.
If the court approves the first motion, the archdiocese will be able to continue to pay for therapy for victims/survivors, which it has been doing since the ‘90s, paying more than $70,000 annually in recent years, it said.
The archdiocese would also continue to make installment payments to victims/survivors who reached settlements through the independent mediation process that was established by the archdiocese in 2004; it owes $310,000, of the total $702,000, to 22 individuals this year.
“We want to continue this outreach to those who benefit from it,” Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki said in the release. “This is part of the ongoing ministry of the church; to care for those who have been harmed.”
The release said that the archdiocese’s second motion asks for approval of procedures “that would keep the names of victims/survivors off the list of creditors and deliver bankruptcy-related official notices to them through their attorneys or other intermediaries,” because confidentiality allows individuals to publicly identify themselves as victims/survivors if they so wish. However, it noted that many don’t disclose information even to family members.
The motion states that “The archdiocese is committed to administering this case and the notice process in a manner that is designed to prevent … any psychological, emotional or other damage or embarrassment to any victims/survivors or their families,” the release said.
“These motions reflect our desire to honor our existing commitments to those who have been harmed and prevent any additional hurt to victims/survivors and their families,” Archbishop Listecki said.