Victim’s compensation would be over 25 times less than the average in other church bankruptcies
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
Three years after filing for bankruptcy, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which insured itself for over $1.3 billion dollars in the 1990’s, filed a reorganization plan today that sets aside a mere $4 million dollars to compensate 575 victim/survivors who were sexually assaulted by archdiocesan priests, religious and employees.
This means that each survivor in the Milwaukee Archdiocese would receive less than $7,000. By contrast, survivors in all other church bankruptcies throughout the U.S. have received an average compensation between $274,000 to as much as $2.1 million, with a national average of $400,000 per survivor.
When Archbishop Jerome Listecki announced the bankruptcy three years ago he said that the purpose of reorganization was to bring “healing” to survivors and “make them whole.” Clearly, this is not the case.
Instead of taking the path to healing as he promised, Listecki instead has spent over $11.5 million dollars on bankruptcy lawyers and court costs fighting victims, nearly three times the total amount he now proposes to compensate survivors with.
Even more outrageous, the archdiocese “compensated” known child abuser priests with a $20,000 “signing bonus” to secretly leave the priesthood. That’s on top of pension, health insurance, and in some cases continuing salaries and vocational “retraining” into new occupations working with children. That amount offered to the criminal clergy is nearly three times what Listecki believes will “heal” their victims.
But not to worry. Listecki also proposes a “lifetime therapy fund”. Of course, Listecki is going to control the therapy monies and the alleged “lifetime” of the total fund for all victims runs out at $500,000 dollars. In other words, under Listecki’s “healing” proposal each survivor would receive less than $900 for their “lifetime” of therapy.
Money communicates value. It is pretty clear that Listecki and the Milwaukee archdiocese does not value healing victims very much.
So little respect Listecki has for healing victims, he announced the filing of the plan today on a radio talk show. He did not notify the court. He did not notify victim attorneys. It goes without saying he did not notify victims and their families.
Does that sound like healing?
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us atSNAPwisconsin.com and SNAPnetwork.org.