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St. Paul archdiocese to pay $210M to clergy abuse victims

Clergy abuse survivor Marie Mielke talks about her feelings during a press conference detailing the settlement reached between clergy sexual abuse victims and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, on May 31, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. (John Autey/Pioneer Press via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced a $210 million settlement Thursday with 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse as part of its plan for bankruptcy reorganization, making this the second-largest payout in the scandal that rocked the nation’s Roman Catholic Church.

Victims’ attorney Jeff Anderson said the money, a total of $210,290,724, will go into a pot to pay survivors, with the amount for each survivor to be determined.

Anderson said a formal reorganization plan will now be submitted to a bankruptcy judge for approval, and then it will be sent to the victims for a vote. Anderson expected they will readily approve it.

“We changed the playing field,” said Jim Keenan, who was sexually abused as a child in the 1980s by a Twin Cities-area priest. “They have to listen to victims now, and that is huge.”

Marie Mielke, who was sexually abused from 1997 to 2000 by a St. Paul seminarian who later became a priest, urged fellow survivors to have the courage to stand up.

“Power and healing is just as true as the evil that’s out there,” she said. “So get up and grab it.”

Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he was grateful to victims who came forward.

“I recognize that the abuse stole so much from you, your childhood, your innocence, your safety, your ability to trust, and in many cases, your faith,” he said, adding that he hopes the settlement brings closure to those who were harmed. “We’ve been working with them very carefully to try to formulate this in a way that benefits them to the maximum.”

According to the website, which tracks clergy sex abuse cases, this is the largest total payout among the Roman Catholic archdioceses and dioceses that have filed for bankruptcy protection. But the largest total payout of any kind came in 2007, when the Archdiocese of Los Angeles settled clergy sex abuse cases with 508 victims for $660 million.

Thomas Abood, chairman of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Reorganization Task Force, said the settlement will be outlined in greater detail when it is filed in court. But he said most of the funding, roughly $170 million, will come from insurance carriers. The rest will come from parishes, the archdiocese, a pension fund and real estate sales.

“We will do everything we can to expedite it,” Abood said, adding that he hopes the process can be completed in the next few months. “We have gone everywhere we could to raise money for this settlement.”

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years after the Minnesota Legislature opened a three-year window that allowed people who had been sexually abused in the past to sue for damages. That resulted in hundreds of claims being filed against the archdiocese.

The bankruptcy case proceeded slowly as attorneys argued over how much money the archdiocese and insurance companies should pay. Last December, U.S. Bankruptcy

Judge Robert Kressel rejected competing reorganization plans filed by the archdiocese and a creditors’ committee and ordered both sides back into mediation.

Pamela Foohey, associate professor at Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said this settlement speaks to the value of negotiations — as the settlement amount is about $50 million more than the original plan put forth by the archdiocese.

“It allows survivors to feel like justice was served and … having a voice was really important to accepting the outcome,” she said. And, in going back to the table, the victims’ advocates were able to secure more money from insurance carriers, showing that victims don’t have to take what’s given because further negotiations “might show that they have more than they are saying they do.”

Fifteen Catholic dioceses or archdioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy, including three in Minnesota, as they sought to protect themselves from growing claims of sexual abuse by clergy members. A fourth Minnesota diocese, St. Cloud, announced its intention to file in February but hasn’t done so.
Forliti reported from Minneapolis. Associated Press Writer Youssef Rddad also contributed from Minneapolis.

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  • I guess the insurance carriers now believe that writing this kind of insurance for a church was the dumbest thing they ever did.

  • Tsk, tsk. A church submitting to the judgment of human law? What’s next, rendering unto Caesar?

  • Over the years I’ve heard lots and lots and lots of examples of priests knowing everything that went on around them in their neighborhoods. It seems to me that it is impossible that clergy, and their superiors, could be ignorant of priests “spending too much time” with underage parishioners.

    As well, these crimes are defined in Canon law, so those who wrote Canon law have been aware of the possibility of these crimes.

    Doesn’t that say it all?

  • The archdicoses should be forced to sell the bishop’s mansion near their cathedral and turn it into a counseling center for victims of sexual abuse as a reminder.

  • As this money is drawn from the coffers of the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, you had better believe local Catholics are remembering the $650,000 the archdiocese chose to throw away in 2011 to try to amend the state’s constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage — when same-sex marriage was ALREADY prohibited in Minnesota.

    Local Catholics are remembering, too, as the archdiocese has to shell out this money to pay abuse victims, that the Catholic Conference of Minnesota then gave another $500,000 to the attack on the rights of LGBTQ citizens of the state in 2012, and $100,000 to pay for a mass mailing campaign that sent out anti-gay-marriage videos to every Catholic household in the state. With those videos came an appeal for Catholics around the state to put more money into the coffers to pay for the crusade to attack the rights of LGBTQ citizens in Minnesota — a crusade that failed dismally, with a majority of Catholics in Minnesota refusing to follow the church’s leaders in their attack on LGBTQ human beings.

    No one ever discovered who actually paid for the production of those videos, and how much money was used to produce them.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the archdiocese had not wasted all that money attempting to depict someone else as the big moral threat of our time — and if it had that money back now to help it defray the costs of paying survivors of clerical sexual abuse they endured as minors?

    Just asking.

  • This, of course, involves events that occurred decades before the effort to protect marriage and traditional Catholic Christian teaching on the proper use of the sex organs.

    But, nice try.

  • That many victims in just bone metropolitan area? I can’t imagine how many victims there were/are in just the US? If they go bankrupt it is still not enough punishment.

  • The fight against evil (or intrinsic disorder in this case) requires a great deal of sacrifice, and it is very rarely the guys leading the fight who do the sacrificing. Makes a person wonder who really is suffering from intrinsic disorder.

  • You should see the numbers involving public school teachers.

    It makes these numbers look like Lilliputians.

  • That’s for the bankruptcy court to decide.

    The address is on-line if you want to vent.

  • Well, it’s not like they claimed to be speakers for God and representatives of his values on Earth or anything.

  • Seriously, what type of a church would need to buy rape insurance? Who would even think of that?

  • Let’s see. $210,000,000 divided by 450 victims comes out to $466,666.66 per victim.

    Using my biblical decoder ring, that’s $210 million FOR 666 666.

    Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  • As the RC hierarchy knows very well, the problem of pedophile priests goes back at least a thousand years.

  • According to the Most Holy Bob of BobWorld, you should see the child abuse offenses of public school teachers. So I did. A ten second google search revealed the following about Minneapolis. I wish I had more time to research it further, but I have to wash my hair.

    Not that the following is definitive, but simply to put the want-a-what-aboutist claims of our leading catholic enabler, err, umm defender into some sort of perspective.

    According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune….

    More than 850 child sex abuse claims, including about 500 against Minnesota Catholic clergy, have been made in the past three years under a landmark Minnesota law sunsetting this week that allowed victims of older abuse cases to have their day in court.

    The Minnesota Child Victims Act, which rocked the Catholic Church to its core, set a May 25, 2016, deadline for filing older claims. Victims’ lawyers are rushing to the finish line, expecting a last-minute surge in claims.

    And the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is on alert, as its victim compensation plan reportedly is headed to bankruptcy court this week.

    In the three years since the law’s passage, the local church has witnessed an archbishop’s resignation, two bankruptcies and the public naming of more than 100 priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

    The calls poured in from across the state. They resulted in about 400 claims (each representing an individual victim) in the Twin Cities archdiocese, 115 in the Winona Diocese, 109 in the Duluth Diocese, 74 in the New Ulm Diocese, 72 in St. Cloud Diocese, 65 against the Order of St. Benedict at St. John’s Abbey, and 50 against the Crosier religious order in Onamia, Minn.

    Some priests served in more than one religious institution, so the figures are not an aggregate, according to Anderson’s office. More than 250 abusers have been identified, and many are accused in multiple claims.

    In addition to clergy, Minnesotans reported abuse by leaders at other well-known and respected institutions such as the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the Boy Scouts of America and public and private schools.

    You can read the entire article at

  • All of them, it now seems, no? Any organization with any kind of “staff” can find itself on the hook for anything done by any staff member. But the carriers once thought claims would be “unlikely”, no doubt. Times changed.

  • “the proper use of the sex organs”
    An obvious area of expertise for a bunch of celibates.
    BobBob, you never fail to astound.

  • Really? I’d like to see a source for that. I think you just made it up for attention.

  • Apparently, Catholics think that the proper use of sex organs involves putting them inside little children.

  • No — Sorry, you won’t get people to ignore the evils of the RCC by shouting “Hey, look over there” !! …

    Abusers are quickly ushered out of public schools who have background checks and accountability laws.

    Churches report to prelates, clergy and divine authority. But god(s) either don’t exist or don’t care about their representatives abusing children….and never have!

  • Yes, church’s child sex abuse always brings out the religious response of — “Yeah, but what about them”…as if God and his representatives should be held to a lower standard.

    About 20 years ago it was discovered that roughly 6% of RCC clergy were sex abusers and many more were knowledgeable and culpable by moving priests around so they always had new children to prey on….

    …Reason enough for me to tell my kids about priest abusers and never to allow them to be in the unsupervised presence of clergy…and I mean the clergy needs the supervision !!

  • Ok. Not that venting accomplishes much, as you so clearly demonstrate with your incessant trolling.

  • I heartily disagree. I find his multi-page bible-thumping to be a detriment to productive discussion.

  • While there is no question, people calling themselves Christians are culpable for an enormous amount of child abuse through all of the denominations:

    Careful studies indicate that cases of paedophilia occur with more frequency amongst same-sex couples than heterosexual couples. Although the homosexual community comprises a tiny minority of the population, this minority is responsible for one-third of all cases of child molestation in the US.[26] According to a Senior Fellow for cultural studies at the Family Research Council, Dr. Timothy J. Dailey, ‘the evidence indicates that both homosexuality and paedophilia are intersecting categories that include many different kinds of sexual behaviour’.[27]

    This is confirmed by a survey carried in the late 1980s by Archives of Sexual Behavior, which revealed that that 86% of the 229 criminals convicted of sexual molestation against children were homosexuals or bisexuals.[28] Further, an empirical research carried by Cameron and Cameron concluded that same-sex parents had committed 10% of all reported cases of child molestation, although they comprised only 0.3% of the random sample.[29] Such a number indicates a disproportional percentage of sexual abuse by homosexual parents, as compared to only 0.6% of children who had been molested by their heterosexual parents. It also indicates, as the researchers who carried this remarkable investigation concluded, ‘a disproportionate association between homosexuality and paedophilia [and] a correspondingly disproportionate risk of homosexual incest… for children reared by homosexuals’.[30] As a former Fellow in Child Psychiatry at Yale University, Dr Jeffrey Satinover, points out:

    [T]he greater number of heterosexual cases reflects the fact that heterosexual males outnumber homosexual males by approximately thirty-six to one… However, heterosexual child molestation cases outnumber homosexual cases by only eleven to one, implying that pedophilia is more than three times more common among homosexuals.[31]

    One of the leading academic journals of the homosexual community is called the Journal of Homosexuality. Published in 1990 there is a special double issue entitled Male Inter-Generational Intimacy. Edited by a notorious paedophile Edward Brongersma, the issue contains articles about sexual relationships between men and small boys. There instances of paedophilia are portrayed as ‘loving relationships’.[32] One of the essays even suggests that parents of sexually abused children should not regard their molesters ‘as a rival or competitor, not as theft of their property, but as a partner in the boy’s upbringing, someone to be welcomed into their home’.[33] Such essays tend to normalise paedophilia and regard the sexual molestation of children as a ‘right’ of the molested child and of the child molester. Similar, in a 1991 article by Helmut Graupner to the Journal of Homosexuality one finds the following statement: ‘Man/boy and woman/girl relations constitute, without a doubt, an aspect of gay and lesbian life’.[34]

    One of the largest homosexual publishers is the Alyson Publications. This publishing house is particularly notorious for its enthusiastic support of paedophilia. One of the most notorious books published by such publisher is entitled ‘Gay Sex: Manual for Men who Love Men’. The book provides child molesters with detailed instructions on how to avoid discovery and arrest when sexually abusing children. Among other things, the book recommends: ‘Avoid situations where a number of men are having sex with the same boy, or group of boys, over a period of time’.[35] In The Age Taboo, a book also published by Alyson Publications, its author contends: ‘Boy-lovers… are not child molesters. The child abusers are… parents who force their staid morality onto the young people in their custody’.[36]

  • The best advice for children is not to be alone with any adult without their parent, family member or friend.
    As our world endorses immorality more and more, it is only going to get worse and worse. Immorality breeds immorality

  • Re: “According to the Most Holy Bob of BobWorld, you should see the child abuse offenses of public school teachers. So I did.”  

    Actually, you need not have done that, because “the child abuse offenses of public school teachers” is not relevant. At all. In any way.  

    Really, no amount of wrongdoing by anyone else, from any faction anywhere, can ever logically be construed as granting permission to someone to do wrong, themselves. To think so is to fall for fallacious “two wrongs make a right” thinking.  

    What’s more, the R.C. Church has even less of an excuse than public schools, since it claims to be an arbiter of morality in the world. Catholics should know — more than other people, because of their supposedly superior morals — that the wrongs of others don’t magically make one’s own wrongs acceptable.  

  • You are saying that you don’t understand scripture then. That is not unusual, but you should be able to at least get the gyst of what the scripture is saying. If not, I’m sure he would be pleased to explain it to you. Seems like a nice guy

  • Re: “Careful studies indicate that cases of paedophilia occur with more frequency amongst same-sex couples than heterosexual couples.”  

    Not only is this not the case, even if it were, it’d be irrelevant. The wrongs of others don’t make a person’s (or group’s) wrongs acceptable. To think so is to fall for the “two wrongs make a right” fallacy.  

    Since you bolted out of the gate with this combined lie/irrelevancy, I’m going to ignore everything else you posted.  

  • Ad nauseum. unfortunately, I was raised a Christian and sexually abused as a child. I understand perfectly well what Christians really mean when they talk about “moral values”.

  • You obviously do not. Whomever abused you was not following Christ. It’s like pastors who say homosexuality is good are not following Christ. No where does He mandate either of those abuses.

  • No need. I’m exposing lies and actually helping people. I am sorry about what happened to you though. May I pray for you?

  • “43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.” (John 5:44)
    I don’t need to look to a man, I have Christ and His word.

  • I think regular ordinary people recognize that where the phrase “the evils of the RCC” come from.

    I have literally hundreds more just like these, over, and over, and over again in public schools while you think “(a)busers are quickly ushered out of public schools who have background checks and accountability laws”.

    I am afraid NOT.

  • For all the good it will do, knock yourself out. In fact, why don’t you literally knock yourself out, so that you’ll stop persecuting innocent gay people, including children, for one in your life?

  • That didn’t help 14-year-old Giovanni, who was murdered by his own father, in cold blood, just for being himself.

  • And, Giovanni being murdered, as you say (I don’t open links from people I don’t know) does not change the word of God.

  • I don’t persecute honey. I tell them what pleases Christ, who will cleanse them of their sin, should they turn to Him, repent and follow Him.

  • So, God wants parents to murder their own children, if they are not sufficiently pleasing to him?

  • You do know that non-Christians exist in the world, do you not? No one is obligated to follow your religion.

  • Actually, the Old Testament does say that, I believe, but, as Christ has come, we now depend on Christ and not ourselves with difficulties.

  • This is why Christianity is a cult, a doomsday/fertility cult, that gets off on sacrificing innocent children. And they blame the devil for all their problems?

  • Of course it did not buy “rape insurance”.

    Rape is a criminal act and criminal acts cannot be insured.

  • The insurance is to pay out victims in lawsuits. In this case, lawsuits because Catholic priests raped thousands of children.

  • No, 6% is higher by magnitudes than the well-supported estimates.

    But the well-supported estimate is lower by magnitudes than the well-supported estimate for public school teachers.

    You just happen to know who and what you like to throw in the mud and jump up and down on while screaming.

  • Odd how you simply left the topic of public school teachers after mentioning it.

    No, it’s not odd – you know who your target is.

    There are a total of 450 +/- 25 priests in the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis. Fifty years ago there were approximately 650 =/- 25. Assuming a normal rate of addition and attrition, at least 2,500 individual priests served during this period.

    The total number of priests credibly accused was 100, or around 4% with my generous estimate.

    Of children in 8th through 11th grade, nearly 7%) surveyed reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult -most often a teacher or coach).

    This statistic increases to about(10%) when it takes other types of sexual misconduct into consideration, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism.

    The last study conducted by the U.S. Education Department (in 2004 and you can see why it was the last), estimated that 1-in-10 students will be sexually abused by a teacher during their years in school.

    So, did priests abuse children?


    Do teachers abuse children?


    So do parents, babysitters, other children, strangers, and so on.

    What steps at the national level have the public schools taken?


    What steps have the Catholics in the U.S. taken?

    Also worth noting is that entire dioceses had not one case of abuse documented, not one lawsuit, nothing.

    The things these dioceses had in common was they followed Canon Law meticulously, never returned an accused priest to any ministry unless he was completely cleared of wrongdoing, never relied on psychologists or psychiatrists to make final judgments on the fitness of a cleric or to attempt to “treat” or “rehabilitate” an offender.

  • Then, you misunderstood, again….I said as Christians w now depend on Christ with our difficulties. Anything new you want to argue about?

  • You call anyone who disagrees with you a “mind maven” and block them for hurting your fragile feelings. #snowflake

  • I’d love to see the numbers, Bob. Can you give me a citation to some credible source for those numbers?

    Based on your past actions–or should I say, inactions–I’m pretty sure you cannot back up your claim.

    After all, you never have backed up any claims you make.

  • And don’t forget Boston’s Bernie “I am the law” Cardinal Law, who knew about sexual abuse by priests and protected them–and who escaped just days ahead of the police, to a well-regarded (by the pope) post in the Vatican.