St Paul Archdiocese Settlement Becomes The Largest Ever In A Catholic Bankruptcy Case
When the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the 450 survivors of sexual abuse agreed to a $210 million settlement as part of its bankruptcy readjustment, it became the second biggest United States pay off the nation's roman catholic church had to pay since the clergy sexual abuse scandal.
Jeff Anderson, the victim's attorney said the settlement was agreed by the archdiocese and the victims. The total amount agreed is $210,290,724. The money will be kept in a fund as the amount to share amongst each survivor is still to be determined.
Anderson mentioned a formal reorganization plan will have to be submitted officially to a bankruptcy judge to approve. After that, it will be sent to each of the victims to vote. Anderson expects the reorganization plan will readily be approved.
"we turned the table around and now, they have to listen to the victims," said Jim Keenan who suffered sexual abuse as a little child in the hands of a twin Cities-area priest.
Marie Mielke who was another victim of the clergy sex abuse encourages survivors to be courageous and stand up.
"healing and power are as true as the horrible evil that's lurking out there. So just stand up and grab it," she said.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda expressed his gratitude to victims who had the courage to come forward.
"I recognize the fact that the abuse deprived you off so much and it also stole a lot from you. It stole your safety, your innocence, your childhood and even your faith" he said while assuring the victims the settlement brings a sense of peace and closure to them. "we have worked tirelessly to carefully derive this way that benefits the victims to the maximum"
Report from bishopaccountability.org, a website which monitors clergy sex abuse cases, indicates that this is the biggest payout to be filled for bankruptcy protection amongst the roman catholic dioceses and archdiocese.
Thomas Abood, the chairman archdiocesan finance council, whilst speaking said the outline of the settlement will be revealed in court. He did mention that the majority of the funds (up to $170million will come from insurers while the rest will be from the archdiocese, parishes, real estate sales and a pension fund as well.
"we will ensure the entire process is swift," Abood said. He also added that within the next few months, the process should be completed. "we have gone to all the places we can raise all the money we can for this settlements.,
In 2015, two years after a three-year window was opened by the Minnesota legislature in order to give more time to sexual abuse victims to step forward, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy.
The bankruptcy case proceeded at a snail pace as both sets of attorney's argued over the money the archdiocese should pay. $45 million was what the archdiocese reported to be its networth. But the victim's attorney strongly maintained that taking into account the parishes, cemeteries, schools and other properties, the true worth of the archdiocese is over $1 billion. The victim's attorney argued that with the true worth of the archdiocese, they should be paying more to the victims.
With the clergy sexual abuse scandal plaguing several Catholic archdiocese and dioceses in the country, fifteen have filled for bankruptcy as they see to protect themselves from the ever increasing claims of sexual abuse.
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