The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Wednesday it will publicly release thousands of pages of documents tied to sexual abuse lawsuits, including depositions with some of its former top officials.

The archdiocese had been fighting the release of the documents, and it made its announcement the day before a hearing on the matter was to be held in U.S. bankruptcy court in Milwaukee. The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2011 to deal with about 500 sex abuse claims filed by men and women. Lawyers representing those people had been seeking the documents' release.

The documents to be released include depositions given by New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who previously led the Milwaukee archdiocese, former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland and retired Bishop Richard Sklba. Victims' advocates have accused archdiocese leaders of transferring abusive priests to other parishes and concealing their crimes for decades.

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