According to documents that were made public Monday, former-Archbishop Timothy Dolan sought Vatican approval to move nearly $57 million off the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s books and into a trust fund to protect the money "from any legal claim or liability” four years before the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy.
Court documents that were made public as part of the archdiocese's bankruptcy proceedings also reveal how Dolan — now cardinal of New York — and other church leaders responded to sexual abuse cases. The records show that prior to Dolan’s arrival in 2002, church officials shuffled pedophile priests between different schools and parishes in order to protect them from criminal charges, JS Online reported.
"The revelations are shameful and shocking," said Minnesota attorney Jeffrey Anderson, who represents many of the 575 claimants that allege they were sexually abused by priests, nuns, teachers and others associated with the Milwaukee archdiocese.
The documents reveal that Dolan paid $20,000 to abusive priests in exchange for their peaceful dismissal from the priesthood and that the practice began at least seven before he arrived in Milwaukee.
"Responding to victim-survivors, taking action against priest-abusers and working to implement policies to protect children, were some of the most difficult, challenging and moving events of the 6 and half years that I served as Archbishop of Milwaukee," Dolan said in a statement.
Current Archbishop Jerome Listecki issued a letter saying he hoped the release of the documents would "aid abuse survivors, families and others in understanding the past, reviewing the present and allowing the Church in southeastern Wisconsin to continue moving forward."