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Lawyer: More than 8,000 children abused by Milwaukee archdiocese priests

by
Church abuse graphic.
Church abuse graphic.

MILWAUKEE (WSAU) An attorney says at least 8,000 kids were sexually abused by over 100 priests and other offenders in the Milwaukee Catholic Diocese. Jeffrey Anderson made the assertion yesterday at a court hearing on the first compensation claims filed by abuse victims as part of church's bankruptcy proceedings. Anderson told Judge Susan Kelley that sealed bankruptcy documents outlined the extent of the abuse. He said the offenders include 75 priests who have not been previously named by the archdiocese. Anderson represents over half of the 570 victims who filed for compensation.

Victims' advocate Peter Isley of the Survivors Network questioned how eight-thousand crimes could be committed with no accountability. Isley speculates that some of the offenders belong to religious orders -- and the archdiocese claims it's not responsible for those groups, even though Catholics provide staffing for them. Isley called the matter a "public safety crisis." The archdiocese said it did not have enough information to respond.

Meanwhile Judge Kelley dropped only one of the three compensation claims the church tried to dismiss. It involved a victim who agreed to a previous settlement. The church said the others violated statutes-of-limitations, and they did not have a legal right to be filed. Kelley said she'll decide that issue if the cases go to trials.

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