Nine victims of clergy abuse settle with St. John's Abbey

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 28, 2011 5:35 PM
Nine victims of clergy abuse settle with St. John's Abbey

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - In a settlement aimed at broader public disclosure of clergy sex abuse, nine Minnesota victims have settled claims against St. John's Abbey and 10 monks or brothers for incidents from the 1960s to 1990s, their attorney said on Monday.

St. John's has agreed to disclose more information about incidents of sex abuse and to allow victims who settled other cases under confidentiality agreements to speak openly, said attorney Jeff Anderson, who has pursued lawsuits charging clergy sex abuse across the United States since 1983.

A St. John's Abbey spokesman said it may respond later.

The lifting of confidentiality was "a giant step toward child protection and the recovery of power of these survivors," Anderson said in an interview.

St. John's also agreed to notify alums of its preparatory school by letter of "credible allegations of sexual abuse" about the monks or brothers, Anderson said. Four of the men have died, three are no longer at St. John's and the others live under restriction.

Anderson declined to discuss the monetary parts of the settlement, but said the noneconomic details were "designed to not only help those who have been wounded in their recovery, but also to protect other children in the future."

Anderson's active cases include lawsuits against the Philadelphia Archdiocese where a grand jury has recommended charges against church leaders assigned to investigate abuse claims.

"There has been progress," Anderson said of Catholic Church disclosures of clergy sex abuse. "There has been nowhere near as much progress as they claim they have made."

Other cases against St. John's Abbey and the Order of St. Benedict remain active.

(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Jerry Norton)