Saturday, June 04, 2005


Kudos to the LA Times for Covering this Story so Far Away

Diocese to Pay Largest Abuse Settlement Yet: "Clohessy, of SNAP, said it was notable that a comparatively small diocese would agree to so large a settlement.

'That... should remind Catholics that bishops have more insurance coverage, resources and cash than they claim,' he said. 'Obviously, it's also a reminder that when victims come forward and hang tough and turn to the courts, that sometimes justice can be achieved.'

The $120-million settlement is in addition to $4.86 million that the Covington diocese paid out from 1989 through February 2004 in payouts, legal fees and counseling for alleged victims. Another $9.4 million was paid by insurance companies between 1993 and February 2004, Fitzgerald said.

The diocese estimated two years ago that since 1950, there had been at least 158 credible allegations of sexual abuse involving 30 priests. One priest was connected with 67 allegations. Most of the abuse occurred from 1960 to 1979, the diocese said.

The Covington Diocese serves an estimated 90,000 Catholics at 53 parishes, 34 elementary and secondary schools and a college. There are 95 diocesan priests, about half of them retired or ill, and 24 deacons.

Covington would be the second diocese in Kentucky to reach a multimillion-dollar settlement with alleged victims of clergy abuse. In 2003, the Archdiocese of Louisville agreed to pay $25.7 million to settle lawsuits brought by 243 plaintiffs, who accused 34 priests and six other church workers of molesting them when they were minors."

There are two points of note here. First, we should see that the abuse was in no way isolated. Tons of victims from all parts of the country. Second, we should see that the amount of money floating through these churches is immeasurable comparable to what we would have suspected without these settlements. I asked a close Catholic friend of mine a while back whether he still tithed the Church. He said that he did, but only to the fund that kept the lights on. He didn't see that as supporting the Church, but rather as merely supporting the parishioners that needed the Church or merely needed religion. I was disappointed in him, because he is a bright guy. He should know that to give to the Church, in any capacity, is to support them in their time of need. We don't donate to child molester charities saying that we think that they need to keep the lights on. From these numbers, we can see that they do not need the money. Anyway, would it be so bad to practice your religion in a small Catholic Church where the electric bills would be cheaper or is it imperative to have huge buildings in which to pray? These huge buildings, the amounts of tithes, and the devoted showing up on Sunday and Wednesday may have led to the feeling of absolute power that these men felt as they molested all of these children all of those years. Taking them down a peg or ten may do us all some good.

I wish I had seen the article when it came out. As one of those nailed by one of the priests in the Covington Diocese (who lives very far away now) I have been trying to spread the word about this before the November deadline. The priest who got me died two weeks after the settlement announcement.

Thank you for posting this.
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