News Release: Documents reveal Dolan, Vatican’s involvement in money transfers and abuse cases


News Release
July 1, 2013

Milwaukee Archdiocese Documents:

Vatican quickly approved Archbishop Dolan moving $56 Million to “protect”
it from sexual abuse victims

Dolan’s policy to pay predator priests

Vatican foot-dragging allowed known
predator priests access to children

Attorney:  “Today, we have been warned about what has been.”.

(St. Paul, MN)
– Jeff Anderson, an attorney for hundreds of survivors of sexual abuse in the Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy case said information in the thousands of documents released in the case today contain “revealing and revolting secrets long kept from the unwary.”  “Today,” Anderson said, “we have been warned about what has been.”
At a press conference in St. Paul, Anderson, along with attorney Mike Finnegan, stood among reams of the court-ordered documents but highlighted what they believed to be the most damaging:

• A June 4, 2007, letter from then Archbishop Timothy Dolan to Vatican officials asking permission to “proceed with alienation of property” owned by the Archdiocese.  The “property” was described in the letter as $56,943,983.35, would be transferred to a “trust” and therefore, Dolan wrote, offer “an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability.”

• A July 18, 2007, letter from a Vatican official to Dolan approving the transfer.

• Minutes of a “Financial Council” meeting that indicates that the planning of sheltering funds began as early as 2003. An entry in the Minutes says; “Currently, we are working on setting up a Trust Fund to shelter the Parish Deposit Fund.”

• A May, 2003 letter from former Archbishop Dolan’s Vicar General for Clergy to convicted child sex offender Rev. John O’Brien enticing him to seek voluntary laicization in exchange for two ten thousand dollar payments—something Dolan has said he never did.  Just a little over a year ago Dolan told a reporter for WNYC News in New York that “To respond to charges like that are groundless and scurrilous in my book is useless and counterproductive.”

• Finally, an inexplicable and trivial exchange of letters concerning the laicization of admitted sexual offender priests, the Vatican is shown to delay the process for years in the face of admitted abuse and current risks to children.

Anderson said the letters and documents “are an appalling display of ineptness and arrogance and clearly reflect the choices of top leaders, who for decades have adhered to secrecy and placed reputation over the safety of children. Indeed, this is scary because it’s not ancient history but real time.”

Copies of the referenced documents are available at:

Video from today’s press conference will be available on our YouTube channel and on our website.

Contact Jeff Anderson: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.817.8665
Contact Mike Finnegan: Office/651.227.9990 Cell/612.205.5531

Mike Finnegan works with Jeff Anderson and Associates, a St. Paul, Minnesota-based law firm representing survivors throughout Minnesota and the country.  Finnegan has represented hundreds of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy.