While much of the furor over sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests has subsided, hundreds of victims are still waiting for compensation for their circumstances. While a case is still ongoing in Wilmington, Delware, attorneys for the sexual abuse suit plaintiffs are using the Los Angeles Diocese and its settlement as an example, according to Reuters:
U.S. Roman Catholic archdioceses have collectively paid some $2 billion in settlements to victims since the priest sex scandals first erupted in Boston nearly a decade ago.
Neuberger criticized the Wilmington diocese for comparing its offer to five settlements obtained in bankruptcy court.
Neuberger said from a legal standpoint a better comparison was the $660 million paid by the Los Angeles archdiocese outside of bankruptcy. The watchdog website BishopAccountability.org estimated the Los Angeles settlement at $780,000 per victim.
The Wilmington Diocese, with a Catholic population of about 233,000, increased its offer from around $55 million after a state jury found that St. Elizabeth Parish owed purported victim John Vai $3 million.
Vai had claimed he was molested as a teenager in the 1960s by Francis DeLuca, a priest who was later defrocked.
Under the latest settlement offer, victims are required to agree to drop all legal action against the diocese and parishes, which are not part of the bankruptcy.
It’s important to remember that while some organizations have the financial wherewithal to pay settlements or jury awards, it can take time to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both the plaintiff who has suffered, and the defendant who may be acting as a result of any number of factors.
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