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New York Catholic diocese ordered to pay $11M damages in sex abuse suit

[JURIST] A New York jury found the Long Island Diocese of Rockville Centre [diocesan website] negligent in the hiring and retention of a youth minister who repeatedly molested two victims between 1999 and 2002 on Friday, and was ordered to provide $11.4 million in damages. Paul Mones, an attorney for the plaintiffs, characterized the decision as a powerful message to the Catholic diocese, telling AP that "over 99 percent of the cases that have been brought since 2002 have settled in the quiet of lawyers' offices, and none of these cases have seen the light of day."

In April, the US Conference of Bishops [official website] released an annual report [PDF text; press release] finding that sex abuse claims levied against the US Roman Catholic Church decreased for the second year in a row and recent cases involving claimants under age 18 have dropped significantly. The report also found that money spent by the dioceses and religious orders on support, settlements and litigation fees also dropped from $467 million in 2005 to $399 million last year and estimates that lawsuits arising from claims of clergy sex abuses [JURIST news archive] have exceeded $1.5 billion dollars. AP has more.

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