On July 9, 2012, before granting a stay in the Chapter 11 proceedings taking place in her courtroom so that they could have the case mediated by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Randall Newsome in Milwaukee, Chief Judge Susan V. Kelley of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, told attorneys for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, “I want you to work as hard as you can on mediation.”

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It didn’t work. Nor did it work a little more than two years later when Kelley granted an archdiocesan motion for mediation and appointed Judge Katherine A. Constantine, bankruptcy judge of the District of Minnesota, to serve as the mediator in St. Paul.

Why those attempts failed, but the July 15-17 attempt resulted in an agreement can’t be determined as all participants and matters discussed in the mediation process are bound by the rules of confidentiality.

However, when asked about the archdiocese’s willingness to enter into mediation again, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki told the Catholic Herald Aug. 3, “We were led to believe going into the mediation that there was an earnest approach by the other side to come to some type of agreement. When the response came from the other side, we looked at it, and it caused us to pause and consider entering into negotiations.”

The archbishop added, “This was not a court-ordered mediation, which is a good thing. This came from the negotiations between attorneys.”

The archdiocese has had success mediating settlements with abuse victim/survivors. Since 2004, when it established a mediation process, the archdiocese has settled claims made by 190 victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 11, 2010, the archdiocese had attempted to mediate with 15 victim/survivors, offering a settlement of $4.6 million. Attorneys for the victim/survivors rejected the offer, prompting the archdiocese to file for reorganization on Jan. 4, 2011.