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Bankruptcy judge tosses 2 damage claims against Milwaukee Archdiocese

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A court gavel
A court gavel

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A bankruptcy judge has thrown out two damage claims from those saying they were molested by priests in the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese.

Judge Susan Kelley said one claim failed to prove that the church defrauded the victim – and the other victim had a reason to suspect fraud a number of years earlier, but did not act on it.

The 10 county Milwaukee Archdiocese filed bankruptcy almost two years ago because of the settlements it’s still facing in the priest sex abuse scandal. Over 570 people have claimed they were molested by Milwaukee area priests – and they’re the largest group of creditors, as they seek compensation for their ordeals.

Other Catholic branches have also filed for bankruptcy, but none have tried to throw out large numbers of damage claims like the Milwaukee church is trying to do.

The Archdiocese says it should not have to pay damage claims that go beyond the six-year statute of limitations, and those in which settlements have already been paid out. The church also says it should not have to pay for abuses by priests in separate religious orders.

Victims and their lawyers have lashed out at the church’s legal strategy, saying it’s “legally and morally wrong.” But church attorney Frank LoCoco said the archdiocese made it clear from the start that it would only pay for claims which the law requires to be paid. 

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