The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis recently announced that it had reached a $210 million settlement agreement with victims of abuse, in what will be the second-largest payment of its kind in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. The settlement will be distributed to the 450 victims of sexual abuse at the hand of the clergy, and will be taking place as part of the archdiocese’s ongoing bankruptcy reorganization.
A statement issued on behalf of the church by Archbishop Bernard Hebda apologized to the victims of abuse, and pledged to do more in the future to prevent similar cases from ever happening again.
“I am grateful to all of the victims/survivors who have bravely come forward,” part of the Archbishop’s remarks noted. “I recognize that the abuse stole so much from you – your childhood, innocence, safety, ability to trust, and in many cases, your faith…The Church let you down. I am very sorry.”
The $210 million settlement will be made available to the 450 victims through the establishment of a trust fund. Roughly $40 million of the settlement will be directly paid for by the archdioceses, with the bulk of the remaining $170 million being handled by insurers. The payment is the second largest in history, dwarfed only by a massive $660 million payment made by Los Angeles religious authorities, according to the Daily News.
The settlement is still pending approval from a judge, though is expected to be carried out without problems. The settlement is only the latest in a long series of sexual abuse and coverup scandals that has beset the church, which has suffered from media criticisms and legal action thanks to victims coming forward. The National Catholic Reporter claims that the cost to the church of scandals are actually undercounted, and probably stem somewhere in the area of nearly $4 billion.
The announcement of the settlement comes closely on the heels of Pope Francis, the head of the church, declaring his sorrow for victims of similar abuse scandals in Chile. The Roman Catholic Church will be sending representatives to Chile to assist in the healing process.
Previously, Pope Francis noted that, “I was part of the problem. I caused this and I apologize to you,” to victims of abuse at the church’s hands, per CNN. The confession is part of a broader attempt by the church in recent years to usher in more transparency during allegations and legal trials surrounding abuse.