A lawyer this morning released portions of a video deposition taken in June of retired Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland in which Weakland acknowledges that he had returned abusive priests to church ministry without alerting parishioners.
The lawyer is Jeffery Anderson who represents the plaintiffs suing our Archdiocese.
The release of the deposition came in response to a contention last month by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that the deaths of key people involved in the church's coverup of sexual abuse allegations had thrown into question the fairness of a pending trial, and that if the archdiocese lost the pending cases, it could face bankruptcy.
A reference, I believe, to Archdiocese prepares for return to court: Fraud alleged by abuse victims in seven cases, posted October 28, 2008 on the Archdiocese's website.
The former archbishop acknowledged in the deposition that he returned abusers to active ministry without informing parishioners because "no parish would have accepted a priest unless you could say that he has gone through the kind of psychological examination and that he's not a risk to the parish."
Which might be legally relevant because
The cases are going to trial because the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled last year that the church could be sued by victims on fraud charges if they could show that the church knew about the misconduct and deliberately attempted to cover it up.
See John Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, 2007 WI 95
Calls this morning to a spokesman for the archdiocese were not returned.
When I said "Just kidding" in Wolf directs communications, I was just kidding.
(via SNAP Network)
Update: The article has been updated and re-titled for the November 13, 2008 edition of the paper, and now includes the Archdiocesan response.
"Archbishop Weakland is able to comment on what he knew, but many if not all of those involved in these cases are dead," Jerry Topczewski, speaking for the archdiocese, said Wednesday. "We'll never know fully what happened or the intent of these people and their actions that date back 20, 30 and 40 years."