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San Diego diocese to shell out $198 million for abuse claims

A settlement betwee 144 childhood sexual abuse victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has resulted in Papa Ratzi’s boys having to pay out $198 mil. It was already in Chapter 11 over the heinous scandal, but as part of the settlement, the diocese gets to ask for its bankruptcy cast to be dismissed. (San Diego Union-Tribune):

Another important part of the agreement was the diocese’s promise to release church documents about priest abuse, said Irwin M. Zalkin, an attorney for 33 victims in the case. He said that without that concession, the victims would not have agreed to settle their claims.

…”This has been a journey for some people, in some cases, 30, 40 years, who have suffered an immense harm that is difficult for anyone to comprehend,” Zalkin said. “This is their day. This is their time. This is their vindication. This is their moment of truth.

…Among them was Michael Bang, a 46-year-old Atlanta resident who says he was abused by a priest in San Diego from 1971 to 1979…”It’ll never be fair. My life has been up and down, up and down,” he said. “It’s unconscionable. I mean this is supposed to be the church of God. They’re supposed to be people that are looking out for the welfare and the goodness of the children of the church. And all they’re worried about is the bottom line.”

The article notes that Bishop Robert Brom asked the victims for forgiveness, repeatedly apologizing. One might ask why it took the threat of going to court (and surely a bigger payout) to get someone to admit and apologize. Since 1950, the church has paid out up to $2.1 billion on cases like this. That’s a lot of tithing (and insurance).

There has been a a steady stream of high-profile bankruptcies and payouts since the raping, molesting  Roman Catholic priest scandal broke big in Boston in 2002. Is this part of God’s plan for the church, as it wastes hot air condemning gays, and persists in an abstinence-only message as HIV/AIDS ravages poor countries around the globe? Via the AP:

* Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 2007, agrees to pay $660 million to about 500 people.
* Diocese of Orange, Calif., 2004, $100 million for 90 abuse claims.
* Diocese of Covington, Ky., 2006, up to $84 million for more than 350 people.
* Archdiocese of Boston, 2003, $84 million for 552 claims.
* Diocese of Oakland, Calif., 2005, $56 million to 56 people.
* Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., 2007, agrees to pay about $52 million to 175 victims to emerge from bankruptcy protection. The diocese sets aside another $20 million for any future claims.
* Diocese of Spokane, Wash., 2007, agrees to pay $48 million for about 150 claims to emerge from bankruptcy protection.
* Diocese of Sacramento, Calif., 2005, pays $35 million to 33 people.
* Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., 2003, $25.7 million to 243 victims.
* Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., 2005, agrees to fund a settlement trust worth about $22 million for more than 50 victims to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

Read the official pastoral statement here (PDF).

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