Federal Judge Orders Archdiocese To Mediation With Abuse Victims

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Last week, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced it was filing for bankruptcy amid lawsuits claiming sexual abuse by priests.

Tuesday, they were in court to hash out some of the details. Archbishop John Nienstedt said bankruptcy is best for the victims and the church.

All parties involved are happy they’ve been ordered to mediation by Federal Judge Robert Kressel. They said they feel mediation without confrontation is what’s best for a speedy resolution in Federal bankruptcy court.

“An extremely positive day for the faithful,” Attorney Charles Rogers said.

Attorneys for the Archdiocese are satisfied that the church will continue to operate as it has in the past while bankruptcy procedures continue. Judge Kressel allowed the church to continue to pay critical salaries, benefits and such to make sure it continues with its core mission.

Kressel’s decision for mediation for all parties involved also sat well with attorney’s for abuse survivors.

“It’s a really good day and he really ordered a positive way to get something good done for these survivors and the operation of the archdiocese to continue,” Attorney Jeff Anderson said.

Anderson said it’s all about the survivors, and this judge has shown his dedication to a swift trail that will not empty the Archdiocese’s bank accounts.

“He just simply said to all the parties including the insurance companies you’re going to mediation, you are not going to spend money in this court until you have made every effort to settle it and bring resolution to the survivors the archdiocese and the insurance companies.” Anderson said.

Judge Kressel said not all bankruptcy filings have gone smoothly. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s bankruptcy dragged on for four years, and attorney fees topped $20 million.

Kressel said mediation will ensure that will not happen here in Minneapolis.

“With mediation we will have the best chance to have an efficient resolution for the faithful and for survivors,” Rogers said.

According to attorneys for both sides, mediation with start soon. They are excited that retired magistrate, Arthur Boylan, will serve as mediator. He solved the NFL strike a while back, and both sides say they feel he will be instumental in bringing this bankruptcy case to a speedy conclusion.

More from Reg Chapman
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