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Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Survivors in Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bankruptcy Case

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Survivors In Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bankruptcy Case

Ruling Is A Major Victory For Survivors

(St. Paul) – Today, we received the long-awaited decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the cemetery trust litigation in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy case.

The Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the survivors and held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and First Amendment do not preclude survivors from challenging the Archdiocese’s designation of approximately $55 million to the care of its cemeteries prior to filing bankruptcy. The decision allows survivors to go back to court to argue that the $55 million in assets the Archdiocese transferred to the Cemetery Trust should be available to compensate survivors in the bankruptcy case.  This decision is a great victory for survivors, and gives them a day in court on the issue of fraudulent transfer by Archbishop Dolan.

“This is a highly momentous day for clergy sex abuse survivors in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, who have suffered terribly since they were abused and have continued to suffer greatly as the Archdiocese has gone to great lengths to deny them justice,” said survivors’ attorney Jeff Anderson. “It is huge in decisively stating that bishops cannot use the First Amendment as a shield to protect themselves while using it as a club on the survivors.”