The Diocese of Camden, N.J., said on Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims made by hundreds of people who accused clergy members of sexually abusing them, one of the largest such settlements involving the Catholic Church in the United States.
Over 300 survivors, represented by the Official Committee of Tort Claimant Creditors, will receive settlement payments. Counsel for the survivors, Jeffrey Prol, Esq., stated:
The Survivors’ Committee is pleased to have reached a consensual resolution of its disputes with the Diocese and looks forward to facilitating an expeditious distribution to survivors of sexual abuse.
In a letter released on Tuesday, the leader of the diocese, Bishop Sullivan, expressed similar sentiments, stating:
I am heartened that the mediation process has reached a settlement whereby the survivors will be
compensated, while allowing the Diocese to continue to serve its parishioners and all residents in
Southern New Jersey. I would like to thank each of the abuse survivors and the members of the Survivors’ Committee for their commitment to this process.
The settlement will be placed in a trust and paid out to survivors over a four-year period.
Bishop Sullivan also made clear that although the financial settlement is a victory for the survivors, there is still much which needs to be done to encourage healing, saying:
While we expect this to be the final financial step to settle survivor claims, we know it is only the next step along a perpetual road of ensuring that this kind of abuse,… never occurs again by anyone in our ministries, parishes, and schools.
The settlement is set to be presented to the Honorable Jerrold N. Poslusny, Jr., United States Bankruptcy Judge in Camden, for consideration.