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Milwaukee Archdiocese, sex victims settlement talks break down

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A court gavel
A court gavel

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Settlement talks have broken down between the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese and about 575 victims of sex abuse by its priests.

Victims’ attorney Jeffrey Anderson Monday confirmed a breakdown in the court-ordered mediation process. He told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he would not elaborate on the reasons for the breakdown, because the proceedings were meant to be confidential.

The financial claims from the abuse victims were part of the church’s effort to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The 10 county Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January of last year. It said it was the only way to fairly compensate abuse victims, while maintaining the church’s ministry.

Court records indicate that the church has spent about $7.5 million since August 1st for consultants and attorneys on both sides of the mediation process – which Judge Susan Kelley ordered in July.

Anderson says he’ll now review millions of dollars that the archdiocese placed into trusts before its bankruptcy. He’ll also work toward the release of thousands of documents relating to the priest sex abuse. Those records have been sealed by the court.

Anderson also says he expects the church to try and throw out a number of claims that are beyond the statute of limitations, involve previous settlements, and are tied to religious orders. 

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