Federal Judge asked to approve therapy plan requiring victims to disclose confidential treatment records to Archdiocese
Archdiocese to determine victim eligibility, treatment plan, duration, and termination of therapy services
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director
In a plan that could have been pulled from the archives of the old Soviet Union, Archbishop Jerome Listecki has filed in federal bankruptcy court a proposed church operated mental health “treatment fund” in lieu of providing financial restitution to hundreds of victims of childhood sexual assault by clergy in the Milwaukee Archdiocese.
Listecki had earlier stated that his treatment fund would total $500,000. With 575 victims filed into court this breaks down to about $900.00 of treatment costs per rape and abuse victim. But the new fund would only cover about 120 victims.
Last month, Listecki proposed a reorganization plan that averages about $6,000 per victim who filed a case in the bankruptcy. Average per victim settlements in all other church bankruptcies across the US are $400,000. The archdiocese has paid $12 million dollars in costs to bankruptcy lawyers since filing three years ago.
Accessing the fund according to Listecki’s plan would require the approval of the archdiocese who would then control all future mental health treatment as well. Victims would be required to surrender confidential therapy treatment records and notes. The archdiocese would also determine the length of treatment (which they have placed at 26 therapy sessions), approve clinical methods, and reserve the right of termination.
And if that’s not enough control ceded to the archdiocese over the lives and mental health care of the victims of their pedophile priests, the archdiocese, after the approval of the plan, could change any provision of it at will, without court approval or oversight.
Ten years ago, under withering public pressure, the archdiocese of Milwaukee closed down former Archbishop Rembert Weakland’s “victim response” program, then called “Project Benjamin,” for the exact same tactics of control and re-victimization of survivors that Listecki’s treatment plan proposes to resurrect anew.
To require in such a draconian fashion and under such a Kafkaesque plan that victims of childhood rape and sexual assault and cover up by priests and church officials have to surrender control back to the institution that destroyed their faith, sanity, and lives so that they can receive some seven months of church approved treatment is legally absurd, clinically bizarre, and psychologically dangerous. If the mafia breaks your legs should the court require you go back to them to set the cast?
Listecki’s plan is an insult not only to victims and the court, but to Catholics, who certainly want to see survivors receive the medical care and treatment they need.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Visit us at SNAPwisconsin.com and SNAPnetwork.org.