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Milwaukee archdiocese seeks victims

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- With a deadline approaching in its bankruptcy, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee is advertising for victims of sexual abuse.

Church officials have placed ads in Milwaukee and national newspapers, asking parishes and church schools to urge those who say they were molested by priests to come forward, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

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The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy a year ago, saying that was the best way to ensure fair compensation to victims. Those who say they were molested must file claims with the bankruptcy court by Feb. 1.

At the same time, the church is trying to cut down on the number of claims. Its lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss three claims for financial compensation.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley is scheduled to hear arguments Feb. 9. The identities of the three alleged victims and the church's grounds for denying them compensation have not been released.

Archbishop Jerome Listecki, in a letter to his flock before the bankruptcy filing, said some people's claims might be invalid. He said those included claims filed after the legal statute of limitations, those who have already signed settlements and those who claim abuse by priests who are members of religious orders or church workers not employed by the archdiocese.

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"Without getting into the grounds for objections, it's safe to say the archdiocese considers these test cases," James Stang, a lawyer representing a committee of alleged sex abuse victims.

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