July 14, 2005

Court halts suit against archdiocese

Pioneer Press

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. The Milwaukee Archdiocese cannot be sued by a man who claims he was abused by one of its priests 40 years ago because church leaders had no reason at the time to believe the priest was a child molester, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Still, advocates for victims of clergy abuse hailed the decision as a victory because the court did not use the lawsuit to reaffirm a 1995 decision that gave religious organizations in Wisconsin blanket immunity from civil claims over their hiring practices.

Peter Isley, Midwest director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the court's silence on the issue was an invitation for others to file new lawsuits challenging the decade-old decision.

"This decision does not help children right now in the state of Wisconsin. But for those who have been harmed, it opens the door for them to get moving," Isley said.

Identified in court papers only as John Doe 67F, the alleged victim claimed the archdiocese was negligent in its supervision of the Rev. George Nuedling, who he claims was moved from parish to parish even though church leaders had knowledge he had abused children.

Posted by kshaw at July 14, 2005 08:43 AM