Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, a potential candidate for pope, faced a three-hour deposition on Wednesday regarding the sexual abuse of children by priests in his former diocese. According to The New York Times on Feb. 20, there is a lawsuit by 350 alleged victims of child sexual abuse filed against the Milwaukee archdiocese where Cardinal Dolan served as archbishop for seven years.
There are actually 575 claims of child sexual abuse against the Milwaukee diocese, but only 350 are involved in this particular suit due to the statute of limitation and a few other technicalities. The lawyers maintain that the previous archbishops of this diocese, including the potential pope candidate, kept the allegations secret and intentionally slowed down the process so that the cases might go past the required time window for filing.
The Milwaukee diocese was the eighth United States diocese to file bankruptcy to obtain protection from lawsuits after paying out $9 million already in child sexual abuse claims. The fact that 575 people in the Milwaukee diocese alone have claimed abuse illustrates the magnitude of this scandal worldwide.
The resignation of Pope Benedict VXI is reported to have been in response to charges filed in international court at The Hague by a group representing victims of abuse by priests around the world. They served a letter on Pope Benedict only six days before he resigned.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan will travel to Rome next week to participate in the conclave to select the new pope. The New York Times explains the attention being given to Cardinal Dolan as a potential candidate to become pope:
The cardinal, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a charismatic figure at ease in parishes as well as in morning talk show studios, and he left a strong impression in the Vatican last year with speeches promoting what the church calls the “new evangelization.”