Abusive priests got $20,000 'payoff'
New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan authorised $20,000 (€16,000) payments to a handful of sexually abusive priests so they would immediately leave the Milwaukee archdiocese when Cardinal Dolan was archbishop there nearly a decade ago, the church has confirmed
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) first announced the payments on Wednesday upon discovering minutes of a March 2003 meeting of the Milwaukee archdiocese finance council meeting. SNAP is demanding full disclosure of all such payments.
Church officials confirmed the payments as approved in the minutes but archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she had yet to determine how many priests received them, estimating the number at "a handful, a couple".
"This money has been characterised as bonuses or payoffs and that's simply not the case. In 2002 and 2003 when the clergy abuse crisis really came to a head, people were calling for priest offenders to be removed -- get them out of there -- and the church here agreed in order to expedite that process," Ms Wolf said.
Cardinal Dolan later became the face of the Catholic Church in the US after moving from Milwaukee to New York in 2009.