California Child Sexual Assault Attorneys

A Step Closer to Victims' Restitution in Notorious Church Abuse Case

It’s not exactly warp speed ahead, but the forward movement in an unprecedented Catholic Church-linked sexual abuse case is steady and discernible.

The St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy 3 ½ years ago. That business move came in the wake of complaints brought by several hundred individuals who chronicled heinous acts of sexual abuse committed against them by priests when they were children. As we noted in our June 5 blog entry, a subsequently reached settlement of $210 million clocked in as the second-largest abuse-related payout in church history (and largest bankruptcy-tied settlement ever).

There is a central question tied to the award, namely this: How will it be paid? What sources of funding will church authorities rely upon to compensate the victims?

Some relevant details emerged on that just recently. Media outlets report that the payment onus falls largely upon more than a dozen insurance carriers that provide various coverages for the archdiocese. The archdiocese itself is responsible for $23.5 million of the total costs.

Unsurprisingly, a good portion of that amount is slated to come from the sale of land and related assets. The church is a major owner of real property, with settlement details notably reflecting that. One in-depth article on the settlement notes that, “More than two-thirds of the funds come from the sale of real estate.”

The settlement terms were mutually agreed upon by the archdiocese and victims, respectively, but that accord does not make them legally effective. The pact must still be formally approved by the presiding bankruptcy judge. An August 9 hearing date has been scheduled on the matter.