Archdiocese of Milwaukee refuses to release documents in sex abuse probe

NOW: Archdiocese of Milwaukee refuses to release documents in sex abuse probe

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A bitter battle is underway as the state's attorney general digs for answers about clergy sexual abuse.

With this new investigation open, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee fired off a letter to the attorney general this week, warning him to back off because court documents on such things were sealed nine years ago. 

The investigation into Wisconsin's five Roman Catholic dioceses, looking for evidence of a coverup in clergy sexual abuse and also for those who did the abuse. 

“As I understand it, it's doing both,” said Zach Hiner of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests.

Zach Hiner runs the Survivors Network and takes issue with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee refusing to turn over documents. 

“I think refusing out of hand to participate in any way shows that they're aware that there are secrets that they’re afraid of coming out,” said Hiner.

From the perspective of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, these are documents that were sealed in a federal bankruptcy case in 2012. 

Milwaukee's attorney sent a letter to Attorney General Kaul saying they won't be unsealing them.

"Pope Francis lifted papal secrecy in these cases around the world in 2019 and bishops are required now under church law to hand over documents “ said Peter Isley of Nate’s Mission.

When he was 13, Pete Isley was assaulted by a Catholic priest. Isley says this case is long overdue.

“You know he's not on a fishing expedition. There's already a great deal of evidence, documents and the story has to be told,” said Isley.

These two men want people to know they can cooperate in the investigation, and that despite any intimidation they may feel, they will be protected under the law. 

We did reach out to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and to their attorney, but have not yet heard back.


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