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Lawyer takes issue with Archbishop Dolan letter

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Attorneys for Wisconsin sex abuse victims claim a 2003 letter from then-Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan shows he was more concerned about the church’s reputation than the actions of an abusive priest.

Dolan wrote to then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, asking that pedophile priest Franklyn Becker be defrocked after allegations of repeated sexual abuse. Ratzinger is now pope.

Among other things, Dolan wrote a trial and possible civil lawsuits “make the potential for true scandal very real.”

Minnesota-based attorney Jeffery Anderson said that shows Dolan was only worried about secrecy and the church’s reputation.

Dolan is now Archbishop of New York. In an e-mail Tuesday, Archdiocese spokesman Joe Zwilling said Dolan acknowledged the victims’ impact in the letter. Zwilling said the letter is a textbook example of how to deal with a priest-abuser.

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