Huge payout over US priests sex-scandals

Decision to pay $166 million in damages is the largest ever by a Catholic religious order such as the Jesuits.

    The landmark ruling comes just days after the Catholic church celebrated St. Patrick's Day [EPA]

    The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Roman Catholic Church's Jesuit order has agreed to pay $166 million to settle more than 500 child sexual abuse claims against priests in five states, attorneys have said.

    The decision on Friday compels a payout by the Society of Jesus in the Oregon Province, and is part of an agreement to resolve its two-year-old bankruptcy case. Lawyers for the victims said it is also the largest ever payout by a Catholic religious order such as the Jesuits.

    The Oregon Province is the Northwest chapter of the Rome-based Jesuit order and covers Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

    The victims, most of them Native Americans from remote Alaska Native villages or Indian reservations in the Pacific Northwest, were sexually or psychologically abused as children by Jesuit missionaries in those states in the 1940s through the 1990s, the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

    'Lost childhood'

    "No amount of money can bring back a lost childhood, a destroyed culture or a shattered faith," Blaine Tamaki, a lawyer, who represents about 90 victims in the settlement, said in a statement.

    "This settlement recognizes that the Jesuits betrayed the trust of hundreds of young children in their care," Tamaki said. "These religious figures should have been responsible for protecting children, but instead raped and molested them."

    The Jesuits' Oregon Province said the $166.1 million would be paid into a trust to "resolve approximately 524 abuse claims in a five-state area."

    Rebecca Rhoades, another attorney for victims of Jesuit abuse in the Northwest, said settlement negotiations began in earnest in October 2010 and were concluded this week.

    She said the settlement, which has been approved by all parties, will be filed with the US Bankruptcy Court in Portland, Oregon, on March 29.

    The Jesuits filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2009 as litigation over sexual abuse claims was mounting

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.