Abuse Victims Get $2.9M
117 Claims Paid So Far; More Coming Every Day
By Jim Hannah
December 9, 2006
Burlington - Almost $3 million has been paid to people abused by Covington Diocese priests as part of a settlement reached last year.
That's the figure contained in a report dated Dec. 6 and filed with the Boone Circuit Court Clerk's Office.
The report, the sixth that has been submitted since the settlement was reached, states that 117 claims have been decided and that 13 claims were pending.
Additional claims are being processed almost every day. As many as 350 people could be eligible to submit a claim, according to previous court records.
About $1.2 million was distributed in October. The amount given out increased by $1.7 million for November. That includes a 22 percent attorneys' fee set by a judge.
All the money spent so far has come from the $41 million the diocese set aside for the settlement. The church has sold about 226 acres near the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for $25 million to help pay for the claims.
The diocese's insurance company, Catholic Mutual, will pay the remaining claims. The report states that the total settlement assets left are valued at $82.2 million.
Retired federal judge Thomas Lambros of Ashtabula, Ohio, and E.W. Scripps Co. Chairman William Burleigh are helping administer the settlement. Each victim is awarded money based on the severity of abuse. Under a formula approved by the courts, each award could range from a few thousand dollars to $1 million.
The December report, signed by Lambros, said victims are initially being given 25 percent of their total award. If there is money left after everyone has received the 25 percent, they will be given the outstanding amount of their claim.
"If there are not sufficient funds to pay all awards, then each class member's award must be reduced by the percentage of deficiency," the report said.
Lambros writes in the report that the process of verifying claims has been hampered by difficulties in obtaining medical records of people claiming abuse.
"This effort is warranted to separate the fraudulent or non-credible claims from those that have merit."
Nineteen have appealed their denial of claims within the time frame outlined in the settlement agreement. Lambros hopes to have reviewed all the claims and awarded all the money by June 1.
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