The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California yesterday formally approved a record settlement of $100 million to 90 victims of sexual abuse by priests. In addition to an average payment of $1.1 million per victim, the diocese has agreed to make public confidential personnel files, and Orange County Bishop Tod D. Brown has agreed to personally apologize to each of the alleged victims, according to the Associated Press. However, under the terms of the settlement, the diocese itself is not admitting to any legal liability, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I hope that what we have done – the changes we have made in our policies and our personnel practices – will guarantee that, as much as humanly possible, these things will never happen again,” said Brown, according to the Times.
The claims of abuse in the lawsuits go back at least 40 years and involve 22 priests, none of whom are still working today. There are nearly 800 lawsuits pending in California, including 540 against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.