News Release: Milwaukee Archdiocese, Insurers Exclude Abuse Survivors From Settlement Negotiations

Attorneys for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its Insurers

Reach Confidential Settlement Excluding Sexual Abuse Survivors

Archbishop breaks promise to treat survivors fairly during bankruptcy

(Milwaukee, WI) – Yesterday the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed legal papers in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin seeking to extend the stay of proceedings due to a confidential settlement agreement reached between the Archdiocese and one of its primary insurers, LMI. While at first glance this seems to bring the bankruptcy one step closer to resolution,  in reality it’s one of the Archdiocese’s latest steps in a concerted effort to exclude sexual abuse survivors from participating in the bankruptcy proceedings.

In its motion, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee fails to mention that the settlement was reached without the
participation of survivors, their attorneys or the creditor’s committee which represents all creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings. The Archdiocese’s mediation with the insurance companies specifically excluded survivors and is yet another demonstration of the Archdiocese’s actions speaking louder than words.

“We are deeply concerned that the Archdiocese and its insurance companies engaged in a process without
survivors of sexual abuse or their attorneys involved,” said attorney Mike Finnegan who represents numerous survivors in the bankruptcy case. “The Archbishop made a promise at the outset of this case to treat survivors fairly and the exclusion of survivors from this process falls far short of that promise.”

The Archdiocese’s initial purpose and goal in the chapter 11 filing was “[t]o provide compensation for the unresolved claims of victims/survivors of Abuse including those Abuse victims/survivors who have not yet come forward.”  Yet, legal papers have been virtually filed on every sexual abuse claim to have the claims thrown out of court. If the Archdiocese’s intent was to truly help these survivors, it would have included them in these settlement negotiations so their voices could be heard.