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Associated Press – August 20, 2008
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Roman Catholic diocese has tentatively agreed to pay $10 million to settle 47 pending sexual abuse claims against the diocese and its priests.
In a letter sent to priests with the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese late Tuesday night, Bishop Robert W. Finn said the deal is subject to his approval after he consults with two diocese boards.
“These incidents have been painful for the victims and their families, for priests not involved in these incidents who have served faithfully, and for the whole Church,” Finn wrote.
He called the settlement a “a responsible resolution” that is in the best interest of the Diocese.
The tentative deal also calls for the diocese to meet 19 non-monetary conditions, which attorneys for the plaintiffs called more valuable than the money. They include publicly announcing and acknowledging the wrongfulness of sexual abuse by its priests.
“The civil process is not something that is amenable to righting this kind of wrong,” plaintiffs’ attorney Rebecca Randles said at a Tuesday night news conference. “But they’re working very hard to try to come to a process where children in the future are protected.”
The deal will settle all current sexual abuse lawsuits pending in Jackson County against the diocese and 12 current or former priests for incidents alleged to have occurred between 1951 and 1992.
While the deal has not been finalized, both sides said they are operating under the assumption that it will be. Victims have been in arbitration hearings since Monday to determine how much of the settlement they will receive. Those hearings are expected to continue for about two weeks.
Randles said of the $10 million, lawyers will get about $4 million, plus costs she estimated at about $100,000.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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