MILWAUKEE, May 31 (UPI) -- The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said it paid priests suspected of sexual abuse to speed up the process of laicization, or defrocking.
A 2003 document surfaced in the archdiocese's bankruptcy case proposing giving $20,000 to those priests who accept having their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry removed, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday.
Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests called the payments payoffs and bonuses to priests who abused children and pointed out the archdiocese wanted to pay the victims slightly more, $30,000.
"You don't give a bonus to a man who rapes children," SNAP Midwest director Peter Isely said. "If they paid them anything it should have been for therapy and counseling."
Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said the payments were meant as charity to help the priests transition back into lay life.