National Post (Latest Edition)
Sex abuse victims to share $210M
Payout by U.S. archdiocese for clergy scandal
ST. PAUL, MINN. • The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to a $210-million settlement with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse, an attorney said Thursday, making it the second-largest U.S. payout in the priest sex abuse scandal.
Victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson said the settlement was reached with the survivors and the archdiocese and includes accountability measures. The money, a total of $210,290,724, will go into a pot to pay survivors.
Anderson said a formal bankruptcy reorganization plan will now be submitted to the judge for approval, and then it will be sent to the survivors for a vote. Anderson expected they will readily approve it.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he was grateful to victims who came forward.
“I recognize that the abuse stole so much from you, your childhood, your innocence, your ability to trust … your faith,” he said, adding that he hopes the settlement brings closure to those who were harmed. “We’ve been working with them very carefully to try to formulate this in a way that benefits them to the maximum.”
According to the website Bishop-Accountability. org, which tracks clergy sex -abuse cases, this is the largest total payout among the Roman Catholic archdioceses and dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy protection. But the largest total payout of any kind came in 2007, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled clergy sex abuse cases with 508 victims for $660 million.
Thomas Abood, chairman of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Reorganization Task Force, said most of the funding, roughly $170 million, will come from insurance carriers. The rest will come from parishes, the archdiocese, a pension fund and real estate sales.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years after the Minnesota Legislature opened a threeyear window that allowed people who had been sexually abused in the past to sue for damages. That resulted in hundreds of claims being filed against the archdiocese.
The bankruptcy case proceeded slowly as attorneys argued over how much money the archdiocese should have to pay. The archdiocese reported its net worth was $45 million. But attorneys for the victims maintained that the archdiocese’s true worth was over $1 billion.