- NYC's Cardinal Dolan paid pedophile priests to leave?
- Minutes from meeting confirm: Dolan discussed paying $20,000 each to child molesters to quietly leave the priesthood
- Policy appears to have been implemented as revealed in 2006 secret payout to pedophile priest
- Newly uncovered document from 2003 shows the beginning of Dolan’s “shell game” of moving tens of millions of dollars into newly invented trusts
- Victims want current Archbishop Listecki to reveal all payouts and costs of sex offenders, release the Milwaukee “Dolan Papers”, including all Finance Council minutes
Victim/survivors of childhood sexual violence by clergy of the Milwaukee archdiocese, including leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org/SNAPwisconsin.com) will release and discuss newly uncovered minutes from a March 2003 Milwaukee Archdiocese Finance council meeting where former Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Milwaukee auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba discuss using church funds to:
--pay off known priest pedophiles and child molesters $20,000 each to quietly leave the priesthood,
--set up a “restorative justice” program to prevent victims from receiving compensation for injuries comparable to cases being filed against the archdiocese of Milwaukee in California, and
--move millions of dollars from the archdiocese into a newly invented “trust” to prevent compensating victims, the first of several such “trusts” to be set up before the archdiocese declared bankruptcy in 2011.
Victims will also be emailing a letter Wednesday to current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki demanding:
--full financial disclosure of all payouts and “laicization” bonuses to sex offender clerics,
--which charitable funds were used to pay-off clergy sex offenders, and
--the release of the “Dolan Papers”, including all minutes of the monthly Archdiocese Finance Council chaired by Dolan and auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba
Wednesday, May 30, 11:30 a.m.
On the front steps of the Federal Courthouse, 517 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee
Minutes from a March, 2003 meeting surfacing this week in a filing in Federal Bankruptcy Court show that Cardinal Timothy Dolan, soon after beginning his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee, was preparing to pay pedophile clergy $20,000 to quietly leave the priesthood through the Vatican’s administrative process, or “laicization.” The payout, $10,000 at the beginning of the laicization process and $10,000 more at the completion of it, was provided independent of the cleric’s salary, pension and benefits. The payment had no restrictions placed on it.
The policy was apparently put into effect as confirmed by a 2006 report concerning serial Milwaukee child predator Fr. Franklyn Becker, who was paid $10,000 to sign his laicization papers and a July 2010 payment by current Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki to nine sex offender priests undergoing laicization. It has not known from which archdiocesan account the payouts have were funneled.
Attending and co-chairing the 2003 meeting were auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba and the archdiocesan finance officer, Wayne Schneider. It was Sklba and Schneider who had earlier authorized the secret payout of nearly half a million dollars as hush money for former Archbishop Rembert Weakland to cover up allegations that Weakland had sexually abused a Marquette University student.
During the meeting, Dolan and his Finance Council also discuss paying off victims of priests $30,000 each (or $10,000 more to the victim than the offender). The payouts would be engineered through a “restorative justice” program to stave off the anticipated settlements the archdiocese would likely face if victims were allowed to file cases in civil courts. Testimony and records in the current bankruptcy now show that Dolan did implement a victim “mediation” program that was designed to obtain victims signatures on legal releases, often with no lawyers present, and deliberately mislead survivors about the church’s prior knowledge of abusive priests.
The minutes also show that already in 2003 Dolan was beginning a series of financial maneuvers to place millions of dollars into newly invented “trusts” so that victims and later, bankruptcy creditors, would be prevented from accessing those assets.
In July of 2010, just months before filing for bankruptcy, the archdiocese announced that there were nine priests undergoing laicization and each was about to be paid $10,000. At the time, the archdiocese claimed the costs were for “living expenses”. Church officials refused to name the nine priests.
Victims, in a letter to Listecki to be emailed on Tuesday, will contend that the new document, along with Becker’s confirmed payment, shows that these nine priests were being paid the second half of their secret laicization deal.
“The federal bankruptcy court,” write victims to Listecki, “would never have allowed payments to pedophiles as part of a restructuring plan, much less unrestricted payouts. Appallingly, the archdiocese has no problem negotiating with pedophiles and appear to have made sure these priests got financially rewarded for their crimes before you filed for bankruptcy. Now your lawyers are trying to toss out as many victims from court as possible.”
Instead of restitution for hundreds of victims, Listecki has proposed to the court that that the archdiocese be allowed to set up a limited therapy fund for victims, operated by church officials. “How ironic,” concludes Tuesday’s letter to Listecki from survivors, “that when you [Listecki] paid off pedophile priests and dumped them back into the community you did so with no restrictions whatsoever. That money may be being used by them right now to aid in the commission of further crimes against children.”
Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director, 414.429.7259
John Pilmaier, SNAP Wisconsin Director, 414.336.8575
Mike Sneesby, SNAP Milwaukee Director, 414.915.4374