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Dover Post
  • Diocese of Wilmington, abuse survivors reach settlement

  • The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Inc. has reached a settlement of $77,425,000 with survivors of priest abuse following negotiations Feb. 2.


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  • The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Inc. has reached a settlement of $77,425,000 with survivors of priest abuse following negotiations Feb. 2.
    Along with the Diocese and sexual abuse claimants, the agreement was reached along with diocesan insurance carriers, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and other claimants, and will result in an average payout of $530,000 for each of the survivors.
    In addition to the monetary terms of the settlement, the Diocese has agreed to a number of non-monetary terms.
    “Since the beginning of the bankruptcy, our goals have been to fairly compensate all survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to honor our obligations to our creditors and lay employees to the best of our ability, and to continue the charitable, educational and spiritual works of the Catholic community in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” the Most. Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington said in a statement released Feb. 3. “We feel that these goals have been reached by this settlement. While this settlement will have a great impact on the diocesan organization, it protects our parishes where the majority of our educational, charitable and spiritual ministry is done.”
    Thomas Neuberger, attorney for the plaintiffs with claims, could not be reached for comment as of press time.
    The settlement was reached less than one month after the Diocese released its two-pronged amended plan of reorganization with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which initially included $74 million for victims.
    Tony Flynn, attorney for the Diocese, said the more than $3 million added to the settlement came from some insurers and some cost-negotiating from the lawyers.
    Those additional funds, Flynn added, were only part of the reason the process finally reached a settlement after seven years.
    Legislation was introduced last week in Dover to cap damages awarded under the Child Victims Act at $250,000, well below the average payout offered by the Diocese.
    “The introduction of the legislation last week raised some concerns,” Flynn said.
    Of the more notable non-monetary conditions in the settlement is the release of documents in the Diocese’s possession related to sexual abuse by, and/or under the supervision of, abusive clergy, religious, or lay employees.
    Flynn said the Diocese has always offered this condition as part of the settlement and the documents will be released over the period of about four months after the Bankruptcy Court approves the settlement.
    The division of the monetary settlement also will take place after the settlement is approved, with all money expecting to be paid out sometime over the summer, Flynn said.
    Email Brian Citino at brian.citino@doverpost.com
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