Religious freedom law a focus in church bankruptcy

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CHICAGO (AP) — The federal appeals court in Chicago is hearing arguments tied to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's bankruptcy case.

Hundreds of sexual abuse victims have filed claims against the archdiocese in federal bankruptcy court. Attorneys representing them and other creditors have asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a lawsuit seeking to have about $55 million in a cemetery trust fund made available to compensate their clients.

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan created the trust fund when he was archbishop of Milwaukee.

Sexual abuse victims believe he did it to hide money from them.

John Manly is a California attorney who has represented clergy sexual abuse victims elsewhere. He says many U.S. dioceses also use trusts, and the outcome in Milwaukee could affect other victims' ability to get compensation.

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