Victims of Sex Abuse Start to Receive Money
Archdiocese of Louisville Settled for $25.7 Million

By Gregory A. Hall
The Courier-Journal [Louisville KY]
Downloaded December 27, 2003

The 243 victims in the $25.7 million settlement of sexual abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Louisville are beginning to receive their checks.

Ross Turner, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs who reached the settlement with the archdiocese last summer, said victims began getting their money about a week ago, and the process is ongoing.

The settlement was made in connection with more than 250 cases filed, beginning in April 2002, alleging a cover-up of sexual abuse by priests and others affiliated with the archdiocese.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge James M. Shake approved the settlement in August. In October, he approved a plan for allocating the money based on the level of a plaintiff's abuse. Cincinnati attorney Matthew Garretson, who developed the allocation plan, was appointed by the judge to evaluate the claims and determine what each person would get.

With that process complete, 23 of the 243 plaintiffs are appealing Garretson's determination to a special arbitrator, Nick King, who is to make a decision on how much those people receive, Turner said.

The relatively small number of appeals is "a testament to the plan that Mr. Garretson put out," Turner said. "He had worked a long time. The plan is fair."

The Garretson plan lumped victims into three classes, based on the severity of the abuse. Several factors, such as a person's age at the time of abuse and the number of times the abuse occurred, were then used to determine the award within those classes.

Six plaintiffs fell in the first category, which included sexual comments, lewd behavior, nongenital touching and victims who were adults at the time of the abuse. Awards in that category are between $20,000 and $30,000 and the average is $26,666, Turner said.

The range for the 160 people in the middle category, which included fondling and genital touching, is $70,700 to $91,500, and their average is $82,622, Turner said.

The 77 people in the third category, which included rape, sodomy and digital penetration, are receiving between $141,316 and $163,051, with an average of $153,510, Turner said.

Because so many plaintiffs fell into two groups, the projected ranges for those two categories were less than Garretson estimated, Turner said.

For example, the original estimate for the highest awards was $175,000, and the original estimate for the high end of the middle category was $110,000.

Plaintiff James B. Corcoran Jr., a victim of the Rev. Louis E. Miller at Holy Spirit, declined to specify the amount of his award, but said he will not appeal.

Corcoran said he "was never in it for the money. I really just wanted peace with this whole thing."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.