[JURIST] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts [diocesan website] announced [press release] Tuesday that it has settled 59 sexual abuse claims against the church through voluntary arbitration. The total amount for the settlements was $4.5 million with individual awards ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 for incidents of abuse from 1948 to 1986. Springfield bishop Timothy McDonnell said of the agreements:
It's a terrible thing for anyone to suffer sexual abuse, but even more so for a child. The after effects impact the person's whole life. My prayer is that a small step toward healing takes place through these settlements. I apologize to all who have been hurt.
To date, the diocese says it has paid out a total of $12.5 million to those allegedly abused by its clergy, and it says that none of the alleged abusers are still associated with the church.
In August the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence [diocesan website] reached a settlement [JURIST report] in four abuse suits. 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.