NEW YORK, NEW YORK – During his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee, Roman Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York authorized payments—in sums of as much as $20,000—to sexually abusive priests, in order to persuade them to accept dismissal from the priesthood.
At the time, then-Archbishop Dolan told a reporter that suggestions a “payoff ” had been made to a notorious pedophile priest to coax him to seek dismissal were “false, preposterous, and unjust.”
That claim contradicts court records from a bankruptcy hearing for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which show that the archdiocese made such payments to several accused pedophile clerics as a means of encouraging them leave the priesthood, a move that would enable the Church to take them off the books. The process, called “laicization,” is a formal procedure requiring Vatican approval.
The first Milwaukee archdiocese payment was made to Franklyn Becker, a former priest accused of abusing at least 10 minors, and who received a psychiatric diagnosis of pedophilia in 1983. The church paid more than $16 million to settle lawsuits involving Becker and another priest.