[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh [diocesan website] Monday announced the creation of a $1.25 million fund to settle 32 lawsuits alleging abuse or injury by priests. Even though Pennsylvania's statute of limitations barred many victims from filing personal injury claims, the diocese has created the fund and will also offer a program of counseling and healing.
Other dioceses across the country have reached similar settlements. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego [diocesan website] announced an agreement [JURIST report] this month to pay $198.1 million to settle 144 claims of sexual abuse by its clergy. A Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2007 approved a $660 million settlement [JURIST report] between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles [diocesan website] and plaintiffs in 508 outstanding clergy sex abuse lawsuits. In January 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane [diocesan website] agreed to settle molestation claims [JURIST report] against its own priests for $48 million as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 [JURIST report] in 2004, and the dioceses of Tuscon, Spokane, and Davenport soon followed suit in the wake of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits [JURIST news archive] against clergy. The total settlements of all Catholic clergy abuse claims have cost the US church at least $2.3 billion since 1950. AP has more. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has local coverage.