Back when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan offered priests suspected of misconduct with children payments of $20,000 to induce them to leave the priesthood, according to the New York Times.The news came out of bankruptcy filings, and is being publicized by a group representing the interests of victims of child abuse. From the report:
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. The process, known as “laicization,” is a formal church juridical procedure that requires Vatican approval, and can take far longer if the priest objects.
“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”
This is brutal news for Dolan, who was previously praised very highly for his handling of abuse cases in Milwaukee after the reign of the notorious Archbishop Weakland, who stole from church coffers to pay for the lifestyle of his male lover.
Victims’ groups like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will counter that these were corrupt payoffs, or even “bonuses” given to suspected rapists.
The Archdiocese and Dolan will argue that this was a small price to pay. If these priests did not accept this payment they would likely remain on the diocesan payroll for much longer during the long process of defrocking them.
Cardinal Dolan has not offered comment to the press.
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