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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Church has paid billions to victims all around world

Grainne Cunningham

MOST other countries where the Roman Catholic Church was responsible for child abuse have already dealt with the issue of compensating the victims.

In the United States alone, dioceses have paid out more than $2bn (€1.42bn) to settle legal actions, forcing some dioceses to sell off their entire assets and declare bankruptcy.

An audit into America's 300 plus dioceses was conducted by the College of Criminal Justice at John Jay University in New York and published in 2004.

The John Jay report found a total of 10,667 people accused priests of sexual abuse of children from 1950 to 2002. Of the roughly 100,000 priests who have served the American Church since 1970, 4,019 had a credible allegation of sex abuse made against them. That is 4pc of the total.

Since then, many US dioceses have reached compensation settlements with victims. Of these, the largest was made by the Roman Catholic Church of Los Angeles in July 2007 when it agreed to pay $660m (€470m) to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating back to the 1940s.

In August 2008, Chicago's Roman Catholic archdiocese said it would pay $12.7m (€9m) to settle 16 claims of sexual abuse involving 10 former priests.

And heads have rolled too. In 2002, Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law, the most senior Roman Catholic official in the United States, resigned over his handling of clergy sexual abuse.

In Canada in 2003, 81 victims of abuse at the former Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland were awarded $16m (€10m) in compensation for the physical and sexual abuse they were subjected to by the Christian Brothers order that administered the facility.


In 2007, Canada's government formalised a $1.9bn (€1.2bn) compensation package for more than 150,000 aboriginal, Inuit and Metis children who were removed from their communities and forced to attend residential schools.

In Australia, the Catholic Church has paid millions of dollars in compensation, but has capped individual payments to tens of thousands of dollars, with many payments undisclosed due to confidentiality settlements. Some victims have said the compensation payments are inadequate.

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