Key Settlement Reached in Catholic Church Child Sex Abuse Case

Here is a central point about compilations like Top-10 lists: they’re not something an entrant routinely wants to be on.

Take this one, for example: largest-ever settlement reached by a religious organization in a child sexual abuse case.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is solidly atop that list, having settled a case with more than 500 abuse survivors in 2007 that reportedly cost the Catholic Church a stunning $660 million.

There is now a new entry in the compendium, though, in the wake of a settlement announced just last week. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis now has the unwanted distinction of checking in at second place for the spotlighted activity of its priests committing unlawful acts against children. Church authorities have agreed to set up a$210 million trust fund to compensate 450 adults who were sexually abused as children by clergy members. Those crimes were committed over many decades.

The matter is noteworthy on many levels. For one thing, it underscores the healing powers linked with victims telling their stories and demanding accountability. We note that self-empowerment on our website at the victims’-advocacy Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D. We stress therein that a victim’s life starts anew “with stepping forward.”

The settlement is also notable for its occurrence following the lifting of Minnesota’s time bar on filing child abuse cases. That reopened window enabled hundreds of victims to file legal claims. Victims’ advocates hope that statute of limitations reform elsewhere might similarly allow for previously barred litigation to proceed.

The settlement must now be approved by both the presiding judge and the victims.

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