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Milwaukee archdiocese to release sex abuse files

Dolan says he welcomes release of Milwaukee documents

MILWAUKEE - The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said that it will release about 3,000 pages of documents related to sexual abuse lawsuits that have been filed against it.

It said the documents include depositions given by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese, former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland and retired Bishop Richard Sklba.

Victims' advocates have accused church leaders of moving abusive priests around and covering up their crimes for decades.

The archdiocese had been fighting the release of the documents, and a hearing on the matter was scheduled for Thursday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Milwaukee.

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2011 to deal with about 500 sex abuse claims.

Lawyers representing those people had been seeking the documents' public release.

Dolan said he welcomes the upcoming release of documents related to sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Dolan gave a deposition in February in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving the archdiocese that he once served. That deposition is among some 3,000 pages of documents that the archdiocese announced on Wednesday that it would post online by July 1.

In a statement, Dolan said he was glad to give his deposition and hopes the release of the documents will help in the healing of abuse survivors.

A lawyer representing people who say they were sexually abused by priests in the Milwaukee Archdiocese said he's glad the archdiocese has agreed to release thousands of sealed documents.

Attorney Jeff Anderson said Wednesday he's grateful to the hundreds of abuse survivors who stayed strong in their fight to have the documents released.

Anderson said the victims have been seeking disclosure, exposure and closure. He said Wednesday's announcement fulfills the first two, and the focus will soon shift toward the third.

He said the next step will be to pursue "with vigor" the archdiocese's insurance companies. But he said for now he's just glad the two sides overcame a big hurdle.

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