$10M Settlement Made in Clergy Sex Abuse
Kc-St. Joseph Diocese to Apologize for Priest Abuse

August 19, 2008

[with video]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on Tuesday agreed to a $10 million settlement in a clergy sex abuse case.

The $10 million will settle 47 claims of child sexual abuse against 12 priests.

KMBC's Martin Augustine reported that it will settle everything on file in Jackson County District Court. Some of the claims date back 50 years.

In addition to the $10 million payment, the settlement includes 19 noneconomic points, including that the bishop write letters of apology to the victims and their families.

The settlement also specifies that the diocese can no longer offer job recommendations for the priests.

Furthermore, the diocese can no longer say that the abuse victims are "alleged victims."

"It's been a long trip for most of us, and many years," abuse survivor Michael Hunter told KMBC. "You know, I am happy that we got this far. Overjoyed? I don't know."

The Diocese is expected to adopt reforms to prevent future sexual abuse of children, which includes providing counseling for the abuse victims and establishing whistleblower policies.

"What the goal was of our clients, courageous clients, was reform. Their children should not face the same risks that they faced," attorney Patrick Noaker said.

"(The bad memories are) with us, whether we get money or not, and will be for the rest of our lives," Hunter said.

The noneconomic points are considered the broadest of any of the clergy abuse settlements.

Also, this is the largest clergy abuse settlement in Missouri.

The bishop has not signed off on the settlement, but that is expected to happen by Thursday.


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