Catholic World News News Feature
Kentucky diocese in largest abuse settlement June 06, 2005
The Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, has agreed to the largest settlement yet for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.
The diocese announced Friday that it will create a $120-million fund to compensate alleged victims, and that $40 million would come from church real estate and investments, and $80 million would come from insurance.
The settlement still needs approval by a state judge. The diocese was expected to go to trial earlier this year, but it was postponed due to the settlement talks. More than 100 alleged victims had filed a class-action lawsuit and accused the diocese of a 50-year abuse cover-up.
In a statement, the diocese indicated that the fund "encompasses all persons, known and unknown, who were abused during the 50-year class period." According to the Associated Press, lawyers have said that number could be in the hundreds, and it could be months before an exact number is known.
Compensation would range from $5,000 to $450,000 per person, and a portion of the fund would be used to provide counseling.
"After personally meeting with more than 70 victims, I am painfully aware that no amount of money can compensate for the harm these victims suffered as innocent children," said Bishop Roger Foys in a statement. "Nevertheless, I pray that this settlement will bring some measure of peace and healing to victims and their loved ones."
In 2003, the Archdiocese of Louisville settled with 243 plaintiffs for $25.7 million, and the Archdiocese of Boston settled with 552 victims for $85 million. The Diocese of Orange County, California, agreed to a $100-million settlement for 87 plaintiffs.
Covington is much smaller than any of these dioceses, and a spokesman would not comment on why the amount was so much greater than other settlements, reported AP. Covington settled another 56 abuse claims in the last 18 months, paying $4 million from its savings and $6.5 million from insurance.