It’s a twofer: According to the terms of a new settlement, the Roman Catholic diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota will go bankrupt but not before paying out $22.5 million to victims of sexual abuse.
Some 70 people say they were abused by 41 priests in cases that date back to the 1950s.
If the bankruptcy plan is approved, the diocese will become the fifth of Minnesota’s six dioceses to settle its clergy abuse claims and declare bankruptcy.
Nothing of value was lost. Whatever good these churches did was clearly outweighed by the trauma their priests inflicted upon dozens of children over the course of decades. The settlement comes only after those courageous victims had to relive their nightmares.
The victims’ lawyer, Jeff Anderson, also helped others achieve a $210 million settlement against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2018. In that case, while most of the money came from the Church’s insurance, roughly $40 million came via the parishes, a pension fund, and real estate sales. Tithe money inevitably went to pay victims who were raped by priests.The Star Tribune puts this in context:
The Diocese of New Ulm in March reached a $34 million settlement with 100 survivors in its bankruptcy case. The Diocese of Duluth and its insurers agreed last year to a $40 million settlement with 125 survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reached a $210 million settlement in 2018 with 450 survivors.
The Diocese of Winona-Rochester filed for bankruptcy in 2018. The Diocese of Crookston avoided filing for bankruptcy when it reached a $5 million settlement last July to resolve 15 lawsuits for sexual abuse claims.
The Church committed an incalculable amount of harm on hundreds of people who had to live with the fallout before public pressure and new laws allowed them to pursue damages.
Can’t say the Church didn’t deserve it.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)