In early-August the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the creditors committee for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee felt the $21M settlement between the archdiocese and victim-survivors of priest sexual abuse was “the lesser of two evils” and that the committee felt “forced into a corner” in agreeing to the terms. The chairperson of the creditors committee also indicated that the archdiocese sought to throw out as many cases as possible. Altogether, 570 victims filed claims and the archdiocese agreed to compensate 330 of them; the chairperson noted, “We had to fight to get that number to 330.”
In reading this account, I was reminded of a statement in one of the priest files from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that we analyzed. The file contained information about an allegation of abuse against a priest who was already on court-ordered probation. In the file, an unnamed diocesan official wrote of “keeping the lid” on the accusation – essentially not telling anybody – so that formal law enforcement and other parishioners and parents would not be notified.
The connection between the past instance of covering up abuse and the current chairperson’s perception of the archdiocese’s legal strategy inspired me to write a Letter to the Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (As an aside, I have penned a commentary to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a letter to the editor of the New York Times that went unpublished, so I wasn’t necessarily expecting anything to come from my submission.) However, I was contacted by a representative of the Journal Sentinel yesterday and notified that the Letter would be published today.
Here is a link to the Letters page; my letter is the second one down: http://www.jsonline.com/news/opinion/letters-b99562485z1-322885961.html