The Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed late Saturday to pay a record $660 million settlement to 508 victims sexually abused by the clergy. The resolution comes after four years of legal battles and just two days before the trial in the case was scheduled to begin.
The payout is the largest of any Roman Catholic diocese, dwarfing the settlements reached in Boston, at $157 million, and Portland, Oregon, at $129 million. The $660 million averages a little more than $1.3 million per plaintiff, but payouts will vary depending upon the level of abuse. The archdiocese will pay over one-third of the settlement, with additional funds coming from insurers and religious orders with members who committed the abuse. J. Michael Hennigan, a church attorney, said, “Parish assets will not be touched and the mission of the church will be impacted but not crippled,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony would have testified had the proceedings continued to trial. He issued on Sunday an apology to victims stating his hope that the settlement would bring closure, saying, “There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims… I cannot,” according to the Associated Press. In the past 20 years, however, Mahony has fought victims and sheltered church officials, protecting personnel files detailing the records of accused priests and shuffling known offenders to several different parishes, according to the Los Angles Times.