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Officials in Milwaukee say archdiocese no longer paying priests accused of abuse to leave


The Archdiocese of Milwaukee and a former priest who received money to leave the ministry following allegations of sexual abuse say that payment and others were a form of charity meant to help men transition to a new life following the priesthood.

The archdiocese acknowledged paying suspected pedophile clergy after an abuse victims’ group produced a court document Wednesday that mentioned a 2003 proposal to pay $20,000 to “unassignable priests” who agree to leave the ministry. The document from the archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings includes minutes from a 2003 meeting of its Finance Council, which included then-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, now a cardinal and head of the New York archdiocese.

Council members discussed how the church should handle sexual abuse complaints, a possible budget deficit and how to cut costs. The $20,000 payments were among the options mentioned.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests characterizes the payments as a payoff to priests who molested children.

“This was a signing bonus for signing papers that would be sent to the Vatican,” SNAP Midwest director Peter Isely said. “They needed to have been fired. You don’t pay someone who has committed a criminal act. You fire them. Period.”

The archdiocese says similar payments were made to men leaving the priesthood long before allegations of sexual abuse surfaced in the Catholic church. Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said the payments were a type of severance pay.

“In a sense, it was a sense of charity to help those men transition from the clergy state to the lay state,” Wolf said. The church has a responsibility not only to victims of clergy abuse, but to those accused of abuse, she said. [More]


AP/The Washington Post



  1. Siena says:

    $20,000 – That’s about the starting salary for Catholic school teachers, so they are indeed working for charity. What a disgrace this whole thing is.

  2. terry paul says:

    Enough of Isley and his group. The point is made and agreed too. Bad things happen and priest are not immune to being human. If they really want to help children now is a time to investigate the public school system’s. Let just say investigate for abuse in that system. Think Isley’s group & similar group’s have that much courage?

  3. joseph Francis says:

    This appears to have been a very poor decision on the part of Dolan. This overwhelming need to protect “brother priests” reinforces the point that Bishops put the victims of child sex abuse as secondary. I hope that Cardinal Dolan can regain the trust of the people. These Bishops keep on shooting themselves in the foot. Twenty five years ago a friend of mine a Franciscan Brother for twenty-two years of faithful service to the church and his Order, decided to leave religious life and was given $2000.00 for his ajustment into secular life. not sex abuse! There is such a dis-connect between the faithful and the Bishops Tony is right.

  4. Tony says:

    If I were guilty of malfeasance my employer would fire me on the spot, a person who rapes a kid or has sex with a minor does not deserve $20,000. no matter what.
    The priest showed no charity to his victims, tough love is called for.


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