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$57 million and religious liberty - an interview with SNAP

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When a federal judge ruled on July 29 that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s free expression of religion and religious liberty would be violated if it was required to tap into its $57 million trust for the perpetual care of cemeteries to pay creditors who are mostly victims of abuse, many observers were shocked.  Joining us to talk about the case are Peter Isely, Founding Member and Midwest Director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Judy Jones, Midwest Associate Director of SNAP.

This is an important case that may play a role in future bankruptcy filings by religious institutions, particularly since the creditor victims allege that $57 million was moved on purpose to a cemetery trust to avoid compensating them (see GodDiscussion.net for the timeline).

Peter Isely was sexually assaulted as a youngster by a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, he is a psychotherapist in private practice who directed the nation’s only inpatient treatment program for clergy sexual abuse trauma. He is a founding member and long time Midwest Director of SNAP, and has been recognized by numerous organizations for his work.

Judy Jones is SNAP’s Midwest Associate Director. Judy was born and raised in the Catholic Church, which played a central role in her life – but today, she is no longer Catholic. That’s because about 20 years ago, she learned that her brother and several other relatives had been abused by a priest of her local church. In 2010, SNAP honored her at its Chicago conference for her accomplishments in helping victims of church abuse.

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