Settlements Reached in Clergy Abuse Lawsuits

By Cheryl Wittenauer
The Associated Press

July 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS (AP) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis reached a financial settlement with six men who claimed they were sexually molested by five priests as far back as the 1960s, a victims' advocacy group said Monday.

The men will be paid $312,500, with settlements ranging from $90,000 to $20,000, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said in a statement. The group said the settlements were finalized in recent weeks through mediation.

Bernard Huger, an attorney for the archdiocese, confirmed several abuse cases had been resolved through mediation.

The victims' advocacy group said the priests sexually preyed on six boys between the ages of 8 and 15 at parishes and grade schools from the late '60s to the late 1980s.

The settlements brings the number of cases of clergy sexual abuse resolved through mediation to nine for $467,500 in the fiscal year ending June 30, the diocese said Monday.

The settlements come from the sale of archdiocesan buildings, insurance, and investments, not from parishes and weekly collections, the archdiocese said. The most recent allegation was from 20 years ago, and all priests that were involved have been removed from active ministry or have died.

"I don't think people realize how horrific sexual abuse is, and how it affects their whole life," said Mary Ellen Kruger, whose son committed suicide three years after his perpetrator was sentenced.

Kruger spoke Monday at a news conference of SNAP activists who called for restoration of the names and addresses of more than 4,300 past sex offenders to a state registry.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that sex offenders convicted of crimes before Missouri's registry law took effect in January 1995 cannot be required to register.


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