Archdiocese documents show priests paid to leave

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As more victims of clergy sex abuse came forward, then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan oversaw a plan to pay some abusers to leave the priesthood after writing to Vatican officials with increasing frustration and concern, warning them about the potential for scandal if they did not defrock problem priests, according to documents released Monday.


Dolan's correspondence with Vatican officials and priests accused of sexual abuse was included in about 6,000 pages of documents the Archdiocese of Milwaukee released Monday as part of a deal reached in federal bankruptcy court with clergy sex abuse victims suing it for fraud. Victims say the archdiocese transferred problem priests to new churches without warning parishioners and covered up priests' crimes for decades.

The documents have drawn attention in part because of the involvement of Dolan, who is now a cardinal and New York archbishop and the nation's most prominent Roman Catholic official by virtue of his position as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The records provide new details on payments made to some abusers to leave the priesthood and the transfer of nearly $57 million for cemetery care into a trust as the archdiocese prepared to file for bankruptcy.

Victims and their attorneys accused Dolan of bankruptcy fraud, pointing to a June 2007 letter in which he told a Vatican office that moving the money into a trust would provide "an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability."

Church law requires bishops to seek Vatican approval for any property sale or asset transfer in the millions of dollars. Dolan wrote in the letter that the transfer had been approved by archdiocese's Financial Council and College of Consultors.

A Vatican office approved the transfer within a month. Jeff Anderson, an attorney for many victims, compared that to the long lag in responses to defrock abusive priests.

Written By: M.L. Johnson
continue to source article at bigstory.ap.org

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  1. I don’t understand why those religious criminals and the corrupt religious leaders who protected them are not hauled in for questioning by police and arrested for sexual assault against children and put in long prison sentences….any other human would be treated in that way if they committed crimes especially against children….Not only are they Not facing prison but the Catholic Church helps them evade retribution and hides them with a fat pension…….Whilst their victims have been cheated out of everything they once had and that’s something that cant be bought or replaced …….Its such a bloody outrage that the Corrupt Catholic Leaders have gotten away with this depravity for far too long and their victims will not be satisfied with a fat cheque, many want blood and some would settle for prison sentences……De frocked – What ??? sounds like a slap on the wrist – how about castrated and publicly shamed to start with….

    • In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

      I don’t understand why those religious criminals and the corrupt religious leaders who protected them are not hauled in for questioning by police and arrested for sexual assault against children and put in long prison sentences….any other human would be treated in that way if they committed crimes…
      De frocked – What ??? sounds like a slap on the wrist – how about castrated and publicly shamed to start with……

      I agree totally with your comment, but add one more step…in the old catholic tradition- burn them at the stake.

  2. But, but, but….

    Catechism (#2409) explicitly prohibits.

    “Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another. The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste.”

    So….don’t do as we(clergy) do, do as we(clergy) tell you.

    Pish, stuff and bloody nonsense!!!! The RCC is rotten to the core and always has been.

  3. I spent four decades practicing as a bankruptcy trustee, and there is hardly a jurisdiction in the world that allows a bankrupt to transfer assets into a trust on the eve of filing for bankruptcy, and not give the courts powers to set aside such a transfer and recover the funds for the bankrupt’s creditors.

    Fraud is a wholly accurate term to use for what has gone on here. And the perpetrators should be investigated with a view to criminal prosecutions, quite separately from the transaction(s) being set aside.

  4. “However, Marquette University law professor Ralph Anzivino, a bankruptcy specialist, said no criminal charges could be filed unless the bankruptcy judge determined the transfer amounts to fraud.”

    Marquette is a Catholic, Jesuit university in Milwaukee. Perhaps a second opinion from somebody without a blatant conflict of interest would be useful.

  5. If any other organisation pulled off as much child sexual abuse as the Catholic Church they would have been shut down a century ago. Even the Mafia could not have got away with it.

    I remember reading about the time just prior to the reformation when priests were unusually corrupt. The Catholic church reassured everyone that no matter how corrupt the priest his ceremonies and magic were just as valid as those of a saint. I wonder if that is what is going on today. People still fear priest magic.

  6. It is so odd the untouchability of the Catholic church. I can see Catholics fearing pope magic, but why others? Does the Vatican have some reputation for torturing those who oppose them? Why the reluctance?

  7. In reply to #1 by Light Wave:

    I don’t understand why those religious criminals and the corrupt religious leaders who protected them are not hauled in for questioning by police and arrested for sexual assault against children and put in long prison sentences….any other human would be treated in that way if they committed crimes…

    I think part of it is because the Vatican is officially its own state, part of it is because they have a lot of power at their disposal, and part of it is because no international tribunal wants to be caught trying to shut down the RCC because presumably the scandals are not “representative” of the organization as a whole. And if you slap a religious patina over something, then too many people feel the “respect religious beliefs” urge take over their thinking.

    It’s like the discovery that good-looking people get lighter sentences than plainer ones. People fall into injustice when lazy thinking distracts their judgement.

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