Evangelism Exposed

“Jesus wept.” Joh 11:35

Missouri diocese agrees to $10 million payment on sex abuse lawsuits

[Source] August 22, 2008:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese has tentatively agreed to pay $10 million to settle nearly 50 sexual abuse claims against the diocese and its priests.

In a letter sent to priests with the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese late Tuesday, Bishop Robert W. Finn said the deal is subject to his approval after he consults with two diocese boards.

“These incidents have been painful for the victims and their families, for priests not involved in these incidents who have served faithfully, and for the whole Church,” Finn wrote. “Based on advice from legal counsel and on prayerful reflection over this most difficult matter, I believe that this settlement, while costly, is a responsible resolution for these individuals and their families and in the best interest of the Diocese.”

Along with the money for the 47 claims, the tentative deal calls for the diocese to meet 19 other conditions, including publicly announcing and acknowledgin4g the wrongfulness of sexual abuse by its priests.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say it is the nonmonetary conditions that make the proposed settlement so important.

“Our clients are trying very hard to right the unrightable wrong,” Rebecca Randles, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said at a news conference Tuesday. “The civil process is not something that is amenable to righting this kind of wrong. But they’re working very hard to try to come to a process where children in the future are protected.”

The deal will settle all current sexual abuse lawsuits pending in Jackson County against the diocese and 12 current or former priests for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1951 and 1992.

The deal has not been finalized, but both sides said they assume it will be. Victims have been in arbitration hearings since Monday to determine how much of the settlement they will receive, and those hearings are expected to continue for about two weeks.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they expect Finn to sign off on the settlement on Thursday.

Michael Hunter, 59, of Prairie Village, said he was relieved by the deal, which comes almost 20 years after he told the diocese about abuse he and his younger brother Kevin suffered at the hands of priests.

“I’m glad to see this is settled, but I feel sad, though,” Hunter said. “There were so many people involved, families, good priests, good people in the church who have been hurt by this.”

Hunter said the abuse started in the 1960s when he was 12, while his brother, who died in 1989, was abused over three years in the early 1970s.

Casey Walsh, 44, of Leawood, said he was abused from 1977 to 1981, from the time he was 13 to almost 17, while he was an altar boy. He said he didn’t necessarily know at the time that the abuse was wrong because priests occupied such a high moral standing in his life.

“There was tremendous tragedy here; unspeakable tragedy,” he said.

Like Hunter, Walsh said he left the Catholic church.

August 22, 2008 - Posted by | Altar Boys, Bankrupt Churches, Catholic Church, Church Scandals, Sex Abuse

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