As heard on 620WTMJ

Archdiocese: Sex abuse document release will reassure others about how it handled cases

CREATED Apr. 4, 2013

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  • Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki celebrates a local Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of the papal inauguration of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee. Faithful showed up to honor the new pope. Image by Rick Wood

  • Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki celebrates a local Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of the papal inauguration of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee. Faithful showed up to honor the new pope. "As the Archbishop of Milwaukee, I pledge to Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, my love and support, along with the prayers of the entire Church of southeastern Wisconsin" said Archbishop Listecki. Image by Rick Wood

  • Archbishop Jerome Listecki is shown during an interview Friday, March 8, 2013 at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in St. Francis, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Image by Mark Hoffman

  • Archbishop Jerome Listecki is shown during an interview Friday, March 8, 2013 at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in St. Francis, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Image by Mark Hoffman

MILWAUKEE - A spokesman for the Milwaukee Archdiocese told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Gene Mueller the reasons why it released thousands of pages of records about sex abuse cases involving members of the clergy.

"This, the Archbishop thought, is a way to say 'Let's give the complete picture.  Let's open up these files and documents and let people judge for themselves," said Milwaukee Archdiocese Chief of Staff Jerry Topczewski on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."

"People are wondering, 'What else don't we know?'  I think this will give people the assurance that this is it.  These are the stories."

He told Gene that the stories are upsetting, but that the church worked proactively to help heal victims.

"Who wouldn't be upset when you learn of some innocent child being harmed by someone who should have had the trust of the child, the family, the parishioners in the pew?" said Topczewski.

"We have a strong track record with the Archdiocese in how we've reached out to those who have been harmed over the decades...the Archdiocese was ahead of its time in its outreach to those who were harmed, giving therapy and support."

The move to release the documents came shortly before a court hearing where a judge could have demanded the church release the documents.

He says Archbishop Jerome Listecki has received kudos from victims and their attorneys.

"Abuse survivors and claimants attorneys have praised his decision to do it."

Victims say they want more transparency from the church.

The Archdiocese said it would only make public the documents from what it considers to be credible cases.