Kansas City diocese to settle sex abuse claims for $9.95 million

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2014 10:54 PM

(Reuters) - The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has agreed to pay $9.95 million to settle all outstanding sexual abuse claims against its priests in a bid to close a long-running scandal.

The settlement resolves 30 pending claims filed between 2010 and earlier this year alleging abuse by priests 20 or more years ago, the diocese said in a statement.

"The diocese sincerely hopes that this settlement can bring about some closure to those hurt by abuse in the past," it said.

A large part of the settlement will be covered by insurers, with the diocese paying the rest, the statement said.

The Kansas City diocese in 2008 settled a lawsuit for $10 million brought by 47 plaintiffs who claimed they were repeatedly sexually abused by priests when they were children.

In 2012, one of its priests pled guilty to producing child pornography, and the diocese's current leader, Bishop Robert Finn, was convicted of failing to report him to police.

The Kansas City agreement came a day after a Minnesota lawsuit over alleged clerical sexual abuse was settled and new child protection guidelines were agreed.

A former altar boy, Jon David Couzens, filed a $10 million civil suit against the Kansas City diocese last month alleging that he had been sexually abused by a now-dead priest.

David Clohessy, the director of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said in a statement that SNAP was relieved that Couzens and others would not have face legal challenges from Finn and his lawyers.

But, he added, "more coverups by more Catholic officials would have emerged had these cases gone to trial and we're sad that this won't happen."

(Reporting by Ian Simpson)