Diocese to Pay $37M More to Abuse Survivors

Des Moines Register
December 3, 2007

The Davenport Catholic Diocese and its insurance carriers have agreed to a $37 million bankruptcy reorganization plan that will benefit approximately 156 people who say clergy and other diocesan personnel sexually abused them, lawyers for the victims said this morning.

In a news release, lawyers Pat Noaker, Craig Levien and Hamid Rafatjoo said the Committee of Unsecured Creditors reached an agreement with the Bishop of the Diocese of Davenport last Thursday, Nov. 29.

The committee represents 156 people who are listed as creditors in the diocese's bankruptcy proceedings. A year ago, the diocese listed assets of $9 million and said it would sell its headquarters and three homes, including the bishop's residence, to pay creditors.

Since 2004, the diocese has paid more than $10.5 million to resolve dozens of claims filed against priests.

The committee also negotiated with the diocese for a number of non-monetary reforms in the agreement, the lawyers said.

Among these provisions is one requiring mental health counseling for all currently known and future survivors.

The diocese will provide the opportunity for survivors to address the parish in which their abuse occurred as well as publishing their stories in the Catholic Messenger.

The diocese will also publish the names of all known abusers in the continuing effort to reach those survivors of clergy abuse who may still wish to come forward for counseling as a step in their healing process. This step will also help prevent future abuse by these predators.

Also, Bishop Martin J. Amos has agreed to write a personal letter of apology to any victim who wishes one, as well as any family members.


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