KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CNS) — The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph said Oct. 14 that it hoped that a $9.95 million settlement it reach on abuse claims “can bring about some closure to those hurt by abuse in the past.”
“The diocese also prays for a healing which can bring peace to the hearts of all of those hurt by child sexual abuse,” it said in a statement.
The agreement settles 30 claims filed over nearly a four-year period, between September 2010 and February 2014, diocesan spokesman Jack Smith said in a statement released to the media.
An AP story said the cases involved alleged abuse that took place between 1963 and 1987 and was perpetrated by 13 current and former priests, several of whom have died.
According to Smith, insurers will cover a large part of the settlement amount and the diocese will pay the balance. He did not elaborate on what amount each of the payees will cover.
The AP reported that the diocese’s agreed to the settlement during a trial in the case of Jon David Couzens, who filed suit against the diocese in 2011 claiming that 30 years ago when he was an altar server at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Independence, the now-deceased Msgr. Thomas O’Brien sexually abused him and three other boys who were altar servers.
Couzens, whose lawsuit was the first of the 30 to go to trial, told reporters that the diocesan settlement “gives the other victims a chance to be free and be able to speak about (the abuse) and also gives a voice to others who have been abused but “who haven’t had a voice.”
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It remains to be seen if the Church’s hierarchy really “get it” regarding this scourge. Their apparent intransigence at the recent Synod portend otherwise.