Clergy Abuse Victims must make claims by February 2012
Court also allows retention of forensic accountants to assess Archdiocese financials
(Milwaukee, WI) In an agreement reached today by the Creditor Committee and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, creditors will have until February 2012 to file claims against the Archdiocese.
Jeff Anderson, an attorney who represents dozens of victims of sexual abuse by clergy or other employees of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, reacted to the deadline saying that “victims of sexual abuse often suffer in silence and shame for many years, so seven months is not a long time. However, we will work with survivors to be sure they get the word that if they don’t come forward now they may not ever be able to file a claim.”
In setting the “Bar Date” deadline the court also required the Archdiocese to give written notice by U.S. mail to families of known victims. In addition, the Archdiocese will be required to provide notice through a broad list of publications in the ten counties that make up the Archdiocese.
Anderson, who is widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation and has represented hundreds of clergy abuse survivors in bankruptcy cases in other states such as California, Iowa, and Delaware, said that there are sure to be many victims who are still suffering in silence and will need to know that if they come forward now they can be assured of complete privacy throughout the entire process. “The court has assured anyone that comes forward that they do not have to make their name known. Survivors can make a claim as a “John or Jane Doe” and the courts, the attorneys and the media will absolutely respect their privacy.”
In another significant action, the court accepted the Creditor Committee’s recommendation to retain forensic accountants to assess the Archdiocese financials.