The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has reached a collective settlement with survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The $21 million settlement with more than 300 victims sets the stage to close a Chapter 11 proceeding which was filed in 2011. The proposed settlement agreement will be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this month, and reviewed at a hearing on November 9.
Archbishop Jerome Listecki said if the plan is approved, it officially ends the bankruptcy case and allows the archdiocese to return its full attention to the spiritual, charitable and educational mission of the Church. “Today, we turn the page on a terrible part of our history and we embark on a new road lined with hope, forgiveness and love,” Listecki said. “This settlement represents for us in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee a new Pentecost.”
Peter Isely, Midwest Director of the SNAP survivors organization, criticized the settlement, calling it “perverse and cynical parody of the famous biblical story of King Solomon.”
The agreement was endorsed by both the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Finance Council and the College of Consultors, according to Archbishop Listecki. The settlement came after three days of mediation and negotiations between the archdiocese, the Creditors’ Committee, and attorneys for abuse survivors July 15-17, in Milwaukee.
“One number dramatically demonstrates just how unjust this “settlement” is: at the end of the day, lawyers will be end up getting twice as much money than victims, approximately $30 million dollars for a handful of lawyers and $15 million dollars for hundreds of victims,” said Isely.