The Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles has agreed to pay more than half-a-billion dollars to almost 500 people who were sexually abused by priests in the city between the 1940s and 1990s.
Digital Journal - The settlement payment from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay out up to $1.3 million to each of the people who claim they were abused by the clergy.
Including this settlement, the total amount paid out by the U.S. church amounts to more than $2 billion since 1950. Approximately one quarter of that stems from the L.A. archdiocese.
The deal has been described
as being the largest settlement ever reached "by far" since a similar scandal unfolded five years ago in Boston.
The Seattle Times
reports the church will pay $250 million in cash and the remaining balance will be paid by insurers and religious orders.
The news comes just as the church was gearing up to face trial on Monday, as 14 men alleged it "failed to protect them as boys from molestation by a parish priest."
The church will make a formal statement later, but reporters learned
of the $660-million deal after someone, speaking under the promise of anonymity, revealed plans to the media.
Raymond Boucher, the lead attorney for victims, told the Seattle Times
The settlement is complete. Some of the victims have waited more than five decades for a chance at reconciliation and resolution. This is a down payment on that debt long overdue.
The settlement is reported to have included a great deal of coordinated negotiation between the archdiocese, dozens of insurance companies and "more than 30 Catholic orders, such as the Western Province of the Claretian Missionaries."
For a long time, the L.A. church has said insurance would not cover all of its claims. The L.A. Times showed this in an analysis earlier this year, showing the archdiocese owned more than $4 billion in real estate but four dioceses claimed bankruptcy so they would not have to face a jury.
A judge must still sign-off on the agreement, and five diocese have filed for bankruptcy including San Diego; Davenport, Iowa; Portland; Spokane; and Tucson, Ariz.
As the Seattle Times reports:
The Los Angeles Archdiocese, its insurers and several Roman Catholic religious orders, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits, have already paid a total of $114 million in several separate agreements — to settle 86 claims.
In California, the Diocese of Orange paid $100 million for 90 abuse claims in 2004 and the Diocese of Oakland paid $56 million to 56 people in 2005. The Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, paid about $85 million to about 350 people.