With pain in his voice the Vicar said: “I don’t know what more can be said at this time. There seems that nothing more could be said by us as a Church in this country. It has concerned us all.
Clearly with the scandal and the repercussions of it we would have to expect the wounds have gone so deep that it has affected the church, and it will affect it for another couple of years.”
Yesterday a Los Angeles judge formally approved the US$660m in what an MSNBC report termed as a dramatic hearing marked by the sobs of victims and their attorneys, and a moment of silence for those victims who died during the years of negotiations.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz stated that the settlement was the right result, adding that settling the cases was the right thing to do.
The deal came after more than five years of negotiations, and is by far the largest pay-out by any diocese since the clergy abuse scandal emerged in Boston, US, in 2002. The amount averages a little more than US$1.3m per plaintiff, although individual pay-outs will vary according to the severity and duration of the abuse.
Cardinal Roger Mahony, leader of USA’s largest archdiocese, apologised on Sunday to the hundreds of clergy sex abuse victims who will receive a share of the settlement. (See page 22A).
He said: “There really is no way to go back and give them that innocence that was taken from them. The one thing I wish I could give the victims... I cannot.”
He again, apologised to all who had been offended and who had been abused. He added that it should not have happened and should not ever happen again.
The Cardinal reportedly stated he has met with dozens of victims in the past 14 months and those meetings helped him understand the importance of a quick resolution to what he called a “terrible sin and crime.”
The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese, which also paid US$60m in December to settle 45 cases that weren’t covered by sexual abuse insurance.
The archdiocese will pay US$250m, insurance carriers will pay a combined US$227m and several religious orders will chip in US$60m.
The remaining US$123m will come from litigation with religious orders that chose not to participate in the deal, with the archdiocese guaranteeing resolution of those 80 to 100 cases within five years.