Sunday, November 28, 2010

Church loses ruling on abuse lawsuits

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has lost another legal round in its fight to get insurers to cover abuse claims.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled the plaintiffs say the church intentionally covered for abusive priests, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. 

Church officials and lawyers say the ruling may be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

"It was certainly our hope that insurance companies would be in the mix to provide more financial resources," said Jerry Topczewski, chief of staff for Archbishop Jerome Listecki. "It makes the challenge of resolving these cases all the more daunting."

The legal battle has delayed the cases for more than a year. Settlement talks with some plaintiffs began in October.

Plaintiffs say the archdiocese moved priests suspected of molesting children to new parishes.

Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul lawyer representing some of the plaintiffs, said he hopes the church will give up its battle over insurance.

"Whether they have or don't have insurance isn't importance to us," Anderson said. "What's important is that we get it moving forward, get the truth out and the secrets disclosed."