The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego reached a nearly $200 million settlement on Friday with 144 victims of alleged abuse by church clergy members. The $198.1 million settlement, if approved by a judge, marks the second-largest payment by a Roman Catholic diocese since widespread claims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy became public in 2002, according to the New York Times.
The cases involved in the settlement go as far back 1938 and are as recent as 1993, but the majority are from the 1960s and 1970s. Friday’s settlement marks the end of more than four years of negotiations in both state and federal courts. The San Diego Diocese, which includes almost 1 million Roman Catholics and has holdings throughout San Diego Country, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the wake of the abuse allegations against members of the clergy.
Known sexual abuse cases involving priests and church leaders have cost the US Roman Catholic Church at least $2.3 billion since 1950, according to the Associated Press. “We pray that this settlement will bring some closure and healing to the years of suffering experienced by these victims,” said Bishop Robert H. Brom, in a joint statement by the church and victim’s lawyers, the New York Times reports.