Diocese of New Ulm reaches $34M settlement in sex abuse cases

Star Tribune

June 26, 2019

By Paul Walsh

A tentative settlement announced Wednesday between the Catholic Diocese of New Ulm and 93 people who allege they were sexually abused by clergy as children calls for the claimants to receive roughly $34 million.

The agreement in principle now goes for approval to U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where the south-central Minnesota diocese filed for protection from its creditors in March 2017.

“This is a big day for the survivors,” Jeff Anderson, attorney for many of the New Ulm claimants. “Throughout this process, all of the survivors have demonstrated tremendous courage and patience. They have advanced the child protection movement and made their communities safer for kids.”

Anderson also represents clients in negotiations with dioceses in St. Cloud and Winona-Rochester. He said last month that litigation against the Crookston diocese is going forward after settlement negotiations broke down.

The Diocese of Winona-Rochester claimed bankruptcy in November of 2018 and set a deadline in April 2019 for those wishing to file a claim of sexual abuse. A total of 121 claims had been filed against the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, naming 17 priests. Many of them were filed as a result of the state’s Child Victims Act, which lifted the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse for three years. At the time, Bishop John Quinn said bankruptcy was necessary to ensure the victims are able to get justice and heal.

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