Columbus Catholic Diocese settles priest sexual abuse case for $1 million

Columbus Dispatch

August 26, 2020

By Danae King

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus settled a lawsuit alleging that one of its priests sexually abused a minor for $1 million.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus is paying $1 million to a man who said he survived sexual abuse at the hands of a priest and high school teacher as a minor.

The diocese announced the settlement Wednesday, ending a lawsuit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in July 2018.

Kevin Heidtman, who is now in his 30s, said in the lawsuit that longtime St. Charles Preparatory School teacher Monsignor Thomas Bennett, who is deceased, sexually abused him and others and the diocese knowingly let it happen.

The abuse took place when Heidtman was a freshman at St. Charles Prep from 2002 to 2003, he said. Bennett taught U.S. history and economics at St. Charles Prep from 1964 until shortly before his death in 2008.

A diocese release said Bishop Robert Brennan decided to settle the lawsuit on the advice of attorneys. The diocese noted it did not admit guilt in the settlement.

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