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Milwaukee Archdiocese cemetery trust bankruptcy case arguments on June 2

CHICAGO (WTAQ) - Chicago's federal appeals court will hear arguments June 2nd on whether the Milwaukee Archdiocese must open its cemetery trust fund to creditors in the church's bankruptcy case.

The creditors -- mainly victims of sex abuse by priests -- say the church should open up the $60 million in its cemetery maintenance budget, as part of the settlements the victims are expected to get.  

The church says it would violate the freedom of religion clause in the First Amendment, and would go against a 1993 federal religious freedom law.  

Bankruptcy Judge Susan Kelley ruled in favor of the creditors, saying there would be no such breach of religious freedom. Milwaukee Federal Judge Rudolph Randa disagreed, and allowed the church to keep its cemetery funds.  

The creditors say Randa's ruling should be thrown out, in part because he bought plots in the church cemeteries and has numerous relatives buried there. The creditors call that a conflict of interest on the judge's part.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)