[JURIST] ] The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City [official website] announced [Flash, video; press release] on Thursday that it has agreed to pay $10 million to settle 47 sexual abuse claims against the church. The deal also required the church to publicly renounce the alleged behavior and to take additional steps to prevent future instances of abuse. Kansas City Bishop Robert W. Finn made the public announcement:
We apologize for the fully unacceptable behavior that prompted these lawsuits to be brought against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. With compassion for the victims of this behavior and with sadness over any failure by the diocese to serve as a proper steward of safety and security for our young people and our parishioners, I am here as an individual leader of the diocese to demonstrate institutional accountability for these sad events. I pray that with the settlement of this matter, the healing for all may truly begin...Many of the priests accused of sexual abuse continue to insist that they are innocent. AP has more. The Kansas City Star has local coverage.
...In reaching a settlement with lawyers representing the families involved in this case, we took painstaking steps to fully vet all issues enabling thoroughness to be the hallmark of this process. Assured that we have met that standard, we have agreed to fund $10 million in payments to the victims and to adhere to a number of nonmonetary stipulations that should assure our community, our congregation and these families that the diocese will continue in its exercise of vigilance and in its devotion to training and education so that we may be confident there will never, ever be a repeat of the behaviors, the offenses, or the claims that have been associated with this matter.
Other dioceses across the country have reached similar settlements. In September 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh [diocesan website] announced [JURIST report] the creation of a $1.25 million fund and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego [diocesan website] announced an agreement [JURIST report] to pay $198.1 million to settle claims of sexual abuse by their 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 bankruptcy 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.