Archbishop Timothy Dolan Purposely Shuttled 57 Million Dollars Away From Sex Abuse Victims

He Viewed The Victims As A Major Inconvenience

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Purposely Shuttled 57 Million Dollars Away From Sex Abuse Victims And Viewed Them As An Inconvenience

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Breaking news out of Milwaukee today as thousands of pages of documents have been released from the Catholic Archdiocese there. The papers show  that Archbishop Timothy Dolan bribed priests to keep them quiet about the child sex abuse scandal, purposely shuttled nearly 57 million dollars out of the Milwaukee Archdiocese before it declared bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid paying settlements to victims, and was far more concerned with accused priests’ well-being and comfort than with the victims themselves. The papers, published on the Archdiocese website as well as on the website of victims’ lawyers, detail depositions, personnel files and court papers in relation to 42 separate child sexual abuse cases.

In preparation of the publication of the documents, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee wrote a letter to his congregation, attempting to explain how the church has had to undergo an “arc of understanding” to comprehend the fact that molesting children is a criminal act. In one paragraph, he says “The arc of understanding sexual abuse of a minor progressed from being seen as a moral failing and sin that needed personal resolve and spiritual direction; to a psychological deficiency that required therapy and could be cured; to issues of addiction requiring more extensive therapy and restrictions on ministry; to recognition of the long-term effects of abuse and the need to hold the perpetrator accountable for this criminal activity.”

While most would say that sexual abuse of a minor would automatically be considered a criminal act for which the perpetrator should be held accountable, the church seems to have taken nearly 80 years coming to that conclusion. Owning up to the mistakes, Listecki said, took a long time because the church only realized that having sex with children was wrong when they looked back upon their actions. “Acknowledging our past… includes facing up to mistakes that were made, even if some of those mistakes become apparent only in hindsight” he writes.

Whereas the vast majority of the population does not feel that child molestation is difficult to equate with criminality, Archbishop Listecki seems to feel otherwise. In his letter he reflects back on how some of the documents show that parents didn’t want the police to be involved, and that some of them were more concerned for “Father” than for their own children. He goes on to say “I do not offer this as an excuse, but rather, as examples of the complexity of the topic and the context in which decisions were made.”

Contrary to what Archbishop Listecki states, most would say that handling child molestation is not complex. It’s actually very simple.  The majority of first responders would probably pick up the phone and dial 911. But the responders were “ill-equipped” and “didn’t understand” he says. He tells his congregation to “prepare to be shocked” about the documents that were to be published.

Indeed, the papers are shocking. We will spare our readers the details of the horrible accounts of child molestation committed by the same priests who were supposed to be moral guides for their young charges. The details are too disgusting and disturbing to be repeated. Instead, we’ll focus on the atrocities committed by the more powerful among the church, including Archbishop Dolan.

The fact that Archbishop Dolan paid priests accused of molestation $20,000 each became news last year, but the documents released today paint an even more shocking picture of Dolan’s role in covering up the scandal. Dolan’s deposition reveals that the payouts were a bribe designed to force the priests to be defrocked and “leave quietly.” In exchange for the payout, the priests agreed not to sue the Catholic Church. Dolan had been paying this hush money since 2003, but publically denied that the payouts were orchestrated to force the priests to leave without protest. The records show, however, that the purpose of the cash settlement was to sweep the problems under the carpet and to save the church money in handling the issue. Bribing the priests to go away quietly also assisted them in avoiding prosecution and spared the church additional legal expenses.

Dolan said he was concerned about the priests having medical insurance, and admitted that paying the priests off to accept being defrocked was a common practice. “…helping a man get medical insurance or to transition out of the priesthood, which we were eager to have done and there was a precedent for it… (it was a) practice that it was done sometimes, yes,” he stated during his deposition.

Further, it appears that Dolan had only money on his mind when he purposely shuttled nearly 57 million dollars out of the diocese coffers and off of the official records before the Milwaukee Archdiocese went “bankrupt,” ensuring that the funds would not be available to the victims as settlements for their suffering.

“By transferring these assets to the Trust, I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability,” he wrote in a letter to the Vatican. “A careful analysis by experts has concluded that the funds currently held…are sufficient for the long-term use by the Catholic cemeteries. The value of the funds to be transferred was $56,943,983.35 as of December 31, 2006.”

According to the documents, during his deposition, Dolan also said he “couldn’t recall the reason” why the accused priests’ history had not previously been made public, but a letter from the Milwaukee Archdiocese clearly states that one of the reasons for that decision was “some of the alleged abusers have threatened suits against us…” In fact, the deposition is frequently peppered with many statements like “I don’t know” and “I don’t remember” in places where Dolan was asked about removing priest’s names from lists of alleged abusers and when asked if he had the power to remove those priests from service.

One of the documents reveals that the eventual release of priests’ names actually had an apology to the priests in it which was later removed because the Archdiocese was informed that the statement should be about the victims’ suffering and not the emotional welfare of the accused priests. Archbishop Listecki wrote that he was “open to reinserting that line,” meaning he was open to putting the apology to the priests back into the statement. He called the removal of that line of apology a “minor language change.”

It is clear from the documents that concern for the priests, and not the victims, was at the forefront of Dolan’s mind when dealing with the scandal. “I was very concerned about them, the morale of the priests, their take on situations,” he said during the deposition.

At one point during his deposition, he was asked if he implemented background checks on priests for the purpose of protecting children and he answered “I hope so.” He also details in many letters to the Vatican how his diocese had made efforts to “provide…intervention…to rehabilitate” the accused priests. During all of those years, the priests were free to have contact with minors and victimize a larger number of children.

The documents reveal, in stunning clarity, how Archbishop Dolan considered priests’ concerns and the financial concerns of the Milwaukee Diocese first and foremost, while at the same time, he viewed the suffering of the victims as an inconvenience. By shuttling over 57 million dollars away from potential settlements for sex abuse victims, Dolan made it clear that his real concern was accused priests’ comfort and the financial health of the church, and that the victims were nothing more than a legal nuisance.

By: Rebecca Savastio


Source: Archdiocese of Milwaukee


Source: CBS News

Source: Anderson Advocates

10 Responses to "Archbishop Timothy Dolan Purposely Shuttled 57 Million Dollars Away From Sex Abuse Victims"

  1. Dorothy Rarick   September 15, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Doesn’t a vow of celibacy mean no sex at all-with anybody? Not even yourself?

  2. awake24hrs   July 2, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Also, we are not forging our opinions based solely on this article in some naive fashion, as you suggest, the Church lost it’s credibility on its own, with its own behavior. They have lied constantly on this topic.

  3. awake24hrs   July 2, 2013 at 5:01 am

    The fact that the Church does acts of charity has no relevance here. Its akin to me saying because I do volunteer work & donate to charities that I can act in an appalling manner in other regards and protect my money in an offshore account to protect from a civil suit in a case where I am clearly wrong under the premise “I may POSSIBLY use that money for charity”. Come on. People have defended everyone from the mob to dictators to drug dealers under the same premise. They also do good so excuse their pathologies….. What they may or MAY NOT do with the money they shuttle away is not relevant. This may be an op ed piece but it is not mis-truthful and the defenders of the Catholic Church have just as deep an institutional bias in how they look and interpret “facts” and frankly, are in considerable denial about just how prolific the Church’s facilitating of an environment that has allowed such things to occur for so long, and on such a scale. Closing ranks to protect criminals is wrong. The law of the land is we don’t molest children, these people obstruct the prosecution of pedophile priests and civil cases, and then hide behind the “love the sinner” charge that would be more convincing if they were ministering therapy to Pedophile priests with the Priests behind bars and not giving them cash payouts.

  4. Daniella   July 1, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    First of all to all those making comments, please learn to go straight to the facts. As someone as appalled as all of you are about these comments, I am disheartened and enraged at the actions of certain people in the church. However, before you completely blame Dolan please learn all the facts. The $20,000 payoff was Dolan’s way of circumventing the Vatican’s practice of moving priests across the country and letting them do this again. Plus he cared for the well-being of the priests. Ok wouldn’t you want your friends to get some help. The Catholic Church is called to love the sinner and the victim both. While the Church has had issues with how it has dealt with the victim, it still must care for the sinner in the best way it can. This severance pay was the best way to prevent further issues from the Church. Plus, the 57 million dollars put away could be seen in a positive light. It would allow the Church to continue to function because without that money the good the Church does wouldn’t be able to occur. As it is still the largest organization that supports the poor and needy around the world. It makes so many mistakes!!! But it does serve a lot of people in need. Therefore, once you have gone and read some of the actual information about the released papers from a real news source not an op-ed which is an opinion piece by design. Gloria please refrain from sexist comments, there is no place for bigotry in this world. The “male priesthood” you refer has a backing that requires the knowledge of some basic doctrine which you may or may not know but when you bash something please provide some facts and reasoning rather than just hate speech. To the author of the piece, I commend you for opening a discussion and getting some of the news out there. But if you have read all the papers please use all the information you read and if you haven’t please refrain from commenting until you have read a synopsis on them. There are many unbiased news articles that report on the situation.

    A Concerned Catholic who wants to make sure the facts are out there

  5. Ann Dabbas   July 1, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I had a comment but they erased it off. WHY ?

  6. Ann Dabbas   July 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    This is a no brainer. No one can ever say they didn’t know having sex with a minor was acceptable…What a lie. A 4 year old child knows it is wrong. The solution is, that if you think something is wrong, it probably is. Ask God for strength to not give in to temptation and then do something else to get your mind off of that problem.

  7. Dora Glasberg   July 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Dolan needed the money for the $20,000 “incentives” to get th epedos to leave the church.

  8. drwho13   July 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “Owning up to the mistakes, Listecki said, took a long time because the church only realized that having sex with children was wrong when they looked back upon their actions.”

    What??? I as a Catholic have been getting moral direction from people that didn’t know it was wrong to have sex with children!!!!!!

    Listecki is canon and civil lawyer. He wouldn’t say something that stupid, would he?

  9. drwho13   July 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    “Owning up to the mistakes, Listecki said, took a long time because the church only realized that having sex with children was wrong when they looked back upon their actions.”

    What??? I as a Catholic have been getting moral direction from people that didn’t know it was wrong to have sex with children!!!!!!

    Listecki is canon and civil lawyer. He wouldn’t say something that stupid; would he?

  10. Gloria Sullivan   July 1, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    “Legal nuisance”…so typical. of the arrogant. all male priesthood!


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