Friday, 29 May 2020

Catholic Abuse News - Another Diocese Goes Bankrupt

Catholic cathedral, St Paul, Minnesota.
Photograph: Jim Mone/AP
Catholic diocese in Minnesota to pay sexual abuse victims $22.5m | Guardian

The Roman Catholic diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota is to go bankrupt but not before paying out $22.5 million to some 70 victims victims of sexual abuse by 41 priests, dating back to the 1950s, according to the terms of a settlement announced last Tuesday.

St Cloud will be the fifth of Minnesota's six diocese to go bankrupt because of sexual abuse compensation payments.

In 2014 the St. Cloud Diocese released the names of 33 priest it admitted had been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. This number rose to 41 as more victims came forward following publicity. St. Cloud, in central Minnesota, includes some of the most rural counties in the state.

Every single survivor with whom we worked has felt some measure of recovery of power by having come forward to share secrets,” said Anderson. “We believe they have made the community safer because of it, and they have been a part of a massive cleanup of a massive coverup in the Diocese of St. Cloud. It has been a journey born of great tribulation.

Attorney Jeff Anderson
The Bishop of St. Cloud, Donald Kettler, formally apologised to the church's victims of sexual abuse and said he hoped the compensation would go some way towards healing the victims.

Jeff Anderson, the lawyer who represented the victims previously secured a $210 million payout to the Catholic Church's 410 victims in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 2018. Money for this settlement came from the church's insurers, roughly $20 million from parishes, a raided pension fund, real estate sales and tithes paid to the church by parishioners.

The Star Tribune lists the scale of the abuse and the compensation now paid to the victims in Minnesota.

  • The Diocese of New Ulm in March reached a $34 million settlement with 100 survivors and went bankrupt.

  • The Diocese of Duluth and its insurers agreed last year to a $40 million settlement with 125 survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

  • 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.

  • These cases came to light after Minnesota enacted the 2013 Minnesota Child Victims Act, which opened a three-year window for plaintiffs to file abuse claims going back decades that were previously barred by statutes of limitation. All in all, some 800 victims of Catholic Priests in Minnesota have now been compensated financially for the abuse they suffered as children at the hands of Catholic priests in the state.

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