KY Archdiocese: $25M Sex Abuse Settlement Largest from Church Coffers

After five days of intense negotiation, the Archdiocese of Louisville yesterday announced a $25 million settlement to 243 victims of sexual abuse by 34 priests and other church employees. The news comes less than two weeks after Rev. Louis E. Miller-named in 94 of almost 250 lawsuits against the archdiocese-was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing 21 children between the ages of 7 and 12.

“No child should ever have had to experience what happened to you… I apologize for what we did or what we failed to do that led to your abuse. I hope that today’s settlement is seen as a sign of our willingness to support you in your healing,” said Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly at a press conference Tuesday, according to the Courier-Journal. The settlement, mediated by former US District Judge Nicholas Politan of New Jersey, is the second largest issued for a priest sex abuse case in the US and the highest sum to be paid directly from church coffers, reported the Courier-Journal. Earlier this year, prompted by the fiscal burden of over $1 million in legal, settlement and counseling costs, the archdiocese cut jobs by 12 percent, froze salaries, and reduced its budget by $2 million. Archdiocese chancellor and chief administrator Brian Reynolds said he did not expect parishes and schools to suffer seriously; however, it is likely there will be decreases in funding for Catholic Charities, church administration and the distribution of grants and scholarships to aid schools. The Franciscan community, a co-defendant in 19 lawsuits, will contribute a portion of the payout.

In the last year, dioceses across the country, including Providence (RI), Boston, and Manchester (NH), have paid millions to settle sex-abuse lawsuits.

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NY Times 6/11/03; Associated Press 6/11/03; Courier-Journal 6/11/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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