450 victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis are poised to receive a $210 million settlement after an agreement was reached between the two parties which also includes accountability measures. The settlement the church has agreed to will also be part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization.
The $210 million settlement will also make it the second-largest U.S. payout in the scandal that shook the Roman Catholic Church.
The total payout of $210, 290,724 will go into a pot to pay the survivors of the abuse, the exact amount for each one of them is still to be determined.
The victims’ attorney, Jeff Anderson, shared that a formal reorganization plan will also be submitted to a bankruptcy judge for approval. Then the victims will have to vote on it, although Anderson is confident his clients will readily approve it.
One of the survivors, Jim Keenan, who was sexually abused as a child by a Twin Cities-area priest celebrated this new development. He said: “We changed the playing field. They have to listen to victims now, and that is huge.”
Thomas Abood, chairman of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Reorganization Task Force, said the settlement will be detailed more comprehensively when it is filed in court. He also promised to expedite the process, saying they are looking to completing everything in a few months’ time. Abood also said they’ve “gone everywhere” they could to raise money for the settlement.
Abood also shared that most of the funding, roughly $170 million, will come from insurance carriers. The rest will be provided by parishes, the archdiocese, a pension fund and real estate sales.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015. Its reported net worth was $45 million. Attorneys for the victims insist, however, that the archdiocese’s true worth was over $1 billions, counting assets of its 187 Roman Catholic parishes, as well as schools, cemeteries and other church-related entities. Victims' attorneys are arguing that those assets should be used to make more money available for victims.
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