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NYC Cardinal Dolan deposed in connection to Archdiocese of Milwaukee abuse lawsuits

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In this Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012 file photo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, is congratulated by two unidentified prelates after being elevated in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. According to a spokesman from the Archdiocese of New York City, Dolan has been deposed in New York on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 1023 in connection to accusations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)The Associated Press

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, was deposed Wednesday about abuse cases against priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which he led from 2002 until 2009.

An attorney for the Milwaukee archdiocese and another lawyer representing people who filed the abuse claims confirmed the cardinal was deposed. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee, facing allegations from nearly 500 people, sought bankruptcy protection in 2011.

Dolan is one of two U.S. cardinals to be deposed this week. Cardinal Roger Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles, is scheduled to be questioned Saturday in a lawsuit over a visiting Mexican priest who police believe molested 26 children in 1987. The Rev. Nicolas Aguilar Rivera fled to Mexico in 1988 after parents complained. He has been ousted from the priesthood but remains a fugitive.

Both Dolan and Mahony will soon be in Rome to participate in the conclave that will elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is resigning.

Dolan's deposition was first reported by The New York Times.

Frank LoCoco, the attorney for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press that Dolan was asked about his decision to publicize the names of priests who molested children.

"The names were published so that people would come forward, share their story and begin what Cardinal Dolan and all those involved would be a healing process," LoCoco said.

Church officials deposed in connection with the bankruptcy and lawsuits include another former Milwaukee archbishop, Rembert Weakland; a retired auxiliary bishop; an archdiocese official who helps victims; the archdiocesan chancellor; and others, according to LoCoco and a spokesman for the Milwaukee archdiocese.

Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the New York archdiocese, said Dolan had long-awaited the chance to discuss his decision to publicize the names as part of his efforts to help victims.

"He has indicated over the past two years that he was eager to cooperate in whatever way he could," Zwilling said in a statement.

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