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New Jersey diocese agrees to settle sexual abuse claims for $87.5M

Rebecca Falconer

A Catholic diocese in Camden, New Jersey, has agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims of some 300 people who accused its clergy members of sexual abuse under a bankruptcy settlement announced Tuesday.

The big picture: If a U.S. bankruptcy judge approves the agreement, it would be “the largest cash payment by any Catholic diocese in bankruptcy to date,” according to attorneys for the plaintiffs in the lawsuits.

  • It’s one of the largest proposed settlements involving the Catholic Church in the U.S. — exceeding the $84 million paid in 2003 in the Boston clergy abuse scandal, though it’s less than agreements reached to settle cases in California and Oregon, the New York Times notes.

Driving the news: The agreement between the diocese that comprises six counties in southern N.J. on the outskirts of Philadelphia and the accusers was filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden.

  • The sexual abuse is alleged to have happened from the 1950s to the 1990s, with most cases concerning the 1960s and 1970s, AP reports.

What they’re saying: Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan in a statement that he wanted to express his “sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse” in the diocese.

  • “My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey never happens again,” he said.
  • Jay Mascolo of RAM Law, among the attorneys representing the accusers, said in a statement the settlement was “long overdue” and a “direct result of thousands of survivors courageously coming forward.”


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