Archdiocese in Minnesota Plans to Settle With Abuse Victims for $210 Million
In 1 of the most significant settlements of its type, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis plans to establish a $210 million trust fund for hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse, the archbishop announced on Thursday.
The program is the result of a yearslong battle and arduous negotiations in a single of the nation&rsquos most high-profile circumstances involving abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
If approved, the settlement will be the largest ever for a sex abuse case involving an archdiocese that has filed for bankruptcy protection and the second largest over all, said Terry McKiernan, co-director and president of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks clergy sex abuse instances. (According to the web site, the largest settlement, $660 million, was reached by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and 508 survivors in 2007.)
&ldquoSurvivors are receiving, on typical, substantial settlements for what they suffered, and that&rsquos actually critical,&rdquo Mr. McKiernan said of the Minnesota case.
The settlement is pending approval from a judge and 450 survivors. Their lawyer, Jeff Anderson, stated he expected them to vote in its favor.
He stated the case could be a model for other clergy sex abuse instances since it forced the church to be more transparent than usual. &ldquoThat heat and that light has been place on them via the courage of the several, numerous survivors who identified their voice and took action,&rdquo he added.
Jim Keenan, one of the abuse survivors, told reporters on Thursday that other people need to not be afraid to speak up.
&ldquoEven when you&rsquore kneeling, even when you&rsquore stumbling, you&rsquove got the legs to stand up and hear your voice,&rdquo he said. &ldquoSpeak your truth, due to the fact what occurs is you make modify, and you make the planet various, and I do think we have made the globe safer.&rdquo
In a news conference on Thursday, Archbishop Bernard Hebda said the settlement &ldquoavoids further litigation and expense, and that allows the regional church to carry on with its mission of spreading and living the gospel of Jesus Christ.&rdquo
He also thanked the survivors who told their stories. &ldquoI recognize that the abuse stole so much from you, your childhood, your innocence, your safety, your potential to trust, and in many circumstances, your faith,&rdquo he mentioned.
&ldquoThe church let you down,&rdquo he added. &ldquoI&rsquom really sorry.&rdquo
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is among far more than a dozen Roman Catholic dioceses to have declared bankruptcy in response to lawsuits more than allegations of sexual abuse. The St. Paul archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years right after the Minnesota Legislature passed the Youngster Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse instances, allowing hundreds of victims of past abuse to file suit.
&ldquoWhat just occurred in the Twin Cities may up the ante, both for the church, simply because they&rsquore seeing what the value tag is, and for survivors who are saying, &lsquoWow, with statute of limitations reform, we&rsquore going to be in a position to do some thing right here,&rsquo&rdquo Mr. McKiernan mentioned.
The archdiocese has been under scrutiny for years for mishandling allegations of sexual abuse by its clergy. The preceding archbishop, John C. Nienstedt, and an auxiliary bishop, Lee A. Piché, resigned in 2015 right after nearby prosecutors brought instances accusing the church of failing to avert serial abuse by a priest in the archdiocese.
A whistle-blower, the former chancellor in the archdiocese, had accused Archbishop Nienstedt of covering up abusive priests and maintaining them in ministry for years.
Published at Fri, 01 Jun 2018 03:40:33 +0000