Court rules church can't shield $60 million in abuse cases
In a blow to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in its ongoing bankruptcy, a federal appeals court on Monday put a $60 million cemetery trust fund back in play to potentially settle claims related to sexual abuse by priests.
The ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the church cannot use the First Amendment or a 1993 law aimed at protecting religious freedom to shield the funds.
The court also said the judge who put the money off limits, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa, should have disclosed the fact his parents and other relatives are buried in a cemetery maintained by the trust fund. The court remanded the case to a different district judge.
"This is a highly momentous day for clergy sex abuse survivors in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who have suffered terribly . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.