Settlements totaling $12,675,000 have been reached today by the Archdiocese of Chicago and 16 survivors of sexual abuse by priests. All of the survivors in this settlement are represented by the law firms of Jeff Anderson & Associates, P.A., St. Paul, Minn. and Kerns, Frost & Pearlman, Chicago. Fourteen of the cases relate to abuse by ten different priests that occurred between the years of 1962 and 1994, and two relate to Daniel J. McCormack, who pled guilty in 2007 to having abused five children. With this settlement, the Archdiocese now has settled four of the five cases for which McCormack pled guilty.
"My hope is that these settlements will help the survivors and their families begin to heal and move forward," said Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago. "I apologize again today to the survivors and their families and to the whole Catholic community. We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of the children in our care."
The settlements were reached through a comprehensive mediation process designed by the Archdiocese and attorneys for the survivors, Jeff Anderson and Marc Pearlman. The parties sought to achieve prompt and fair resolution of the survivors' cases. Key elements of the process include sharing of documents and information, specific procedures for mediation of the cases, public disclosure of information and use of a special arbitrator to resolve disputes. Thomas Gibbons, an attorney and dean of the School of Continuing Studies, Northwestern University, serves as the mediator and Stuart Nudelman, a retired judge, is the special arbitrator.
During the mediation process, Cardinal George gave his deposition. The full text of the transcript is available at www.archchicago.org. Under the terms of the mediation, other information and files will be made public as the process continues. [Note from BishopAccountability.org: See the Cardinal George deposition and the Bishop Goedert deposition, so far released under the terms of this mediation.]
"The mediation process with the Archdiocese of Chicago was particularly effective because of the courage of the survivors and the personal involvement of Cardinal George," said Anderson, attorney for the survivors in Chicago and other dioceses across the nation. "Cardinal George was actively involved in this process. He has demonstrated his commitment to healing these survivors. The release of his deposition today is a significant step toward openness and transparency and helps the survivors and the church community in healing and recovery."
"This mediation process sets a standard for best practices and can serve as a model for future mediations," said Gibbons. "I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all the people who worked so hard and overcame many obstacles to achieve this result for the survivors."
The names and status of the 11 priests involved in the settlement are as follows: Robert C. Becker, deceased in 1989; Joseph R. Bennett, removed from ministry in 2006; Robert Craig, resigned in 1993; James C. Hagan, resigned in 1997; Thomas F. Kelly, deceased in 1990; Norbert Maday, removed from ministry in 1993 and in prison; Robert E. Mayer, resigned in 1994; Daniel J. McCormack, removed from ministry in 2006 and in prison; Joseph Owens, resigned in 1970; Kenneth C. Ruge, deceased in 2002; and James Steel, resigned in 1992.
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