Great Falls-Billings Diocese reaches settlement terms with sex abuse victims for $20 million

Great Falls Tribune

Seaborn Larson,

April 27, 2018

Attorneys for the 86 sex abuse victims who filed claims against the Great Falls-Billings Diocese announced on Friday the parties have reached a settlement of $20 million dollars.

The announcement comes just over a year after the diocese filed for federal bankruptcy in order to reorganize its finances to reach such a deaL.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jim Papas has yet to approve the deal, but Missoula attorney for a group of victims, Molly Howard, said diocese officials have approved the financial terms of the settlement. The only remaining details yet to be approved by the church are the non-financial terms.

In a statement released Friday, Bishop Michael Warfel said a substantial amount of the settlement would come from the diocese’s insurer, Catholic Mutual, and the diocese with “additional financial assistance from other members of the Catholic community within the Diocese.”

“This is part of our continuing efforts to reconcile with survivors of childhood sex abuse while carrying on with the essential mission of the Chruch,” Warfel said. “We are hopefuly that this settlemetn without the necessity of yeras of future litigation will continue the healing process with the abuse survivors.”

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