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Settlement Reached in Duluth Diocese Church Abuse Cases

Updated: May 01, 2019 06:01 PM

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - The Diocese of Duluth has reached a settlement with dozens of people who say they were abused as children by its priests.

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The attorney for 125 claimants in the diocese's bankruptcy case, Jeff Anderson, says the agreement requires the diocese to pay them $40 million. The settlement also requires the diocese to release the files of 37 priests that it has classified as credibly accused.

"It has required perseverance, it has required extraordinary courage and patience and to each of the survivors that have shared this journey with us and given us an opportunity to be a part of it, we are deeply grateful" Jeff Anderson, the plaintiff's attorney, said.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy in December 2015. Anderson says once the diocese's reorganization plan is approved in bankruptcy court, the 125 claimants will formally vote on the plan. A claims reviewer will determine how much each claimant will be paid.

"The diocese is happy to be able to put this behind it. We recognize the harm that was caused and we want to put this behind us," Phillip Kunkel, the bankruptcy attorney for the Diocese of Duluth, said.

The settlement requires the diocese, its 75 parishes and other Catholic entities to pay $10 million. The rest will be funded by its insurance carriers.

Kunkel said he hopes they have the plan of reorganization confirmed by late summer or early fall. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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