The Archdiocese of Milwaukee will allow a Fond du Lac police detective to review the file of a defrocked priest as part of an ongoing sex-abuse investigation, in response to a motion filed Thursday by victims in its bankruptcy case.continue at JS
The archdiocese, which refused the detective access in December, citing the seal on certain documents in the bankruptcy, said Thursday that that was in error. And it blamed the lapse on miscommunication involving two staff members.
But lawyers for victims in the bankruptcy said they would push ahead with the motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to make public all records, depositions and other documents involving credibly accused priests and church workers, arguing the move is needed to protect children.
"Not a chance," victims attorney Jeffrey Anderson said, in response to the archdiocese's request that he and colleague Michael Finnegan withdraw the motion.
"There's a public and moral imperative to be answered here. And the only way is to release this information to the survivors and the public," he said.
Archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said it has a long-standing policy of cooperating with civil authorities investigating clergy abuse. He and attorney Frank LoCoco accused Anderson and Finnegan of exploiting an isolated incident in an attempt to get Kelley to revisit the broad protective order she issued in 2011 to shield victims seeking anonymity in the bankruptcy.
"No one wants to obstruct a lawful investigation," LoCoco said. "And to date, we've had no other complaints from law enforcement," he said. "This is just Jeff Anderson's way of getting this issue back in front of Judge Kelley."