New Jersey Archdiocese Agrees to Pay $87.5 Million Settlement to Survivors of Sexual Abuse | #daitngscams | #lovescams

The Camden Diocesan Center in downtown Camden, New Jersey houses the headquarters for the Catholic Diocese of Camden and a bank.

Farragutful/Wikimedia The Camden Diocesan Center in downtown Camden, New Jersey

A Roman Catholic Archdiocese in New Jersey reached a multi-million dollar settlement with victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, the diocese and survivors’ committee announced Wednesday.

The Diocese of Camden and the Official Committee of Tort Claimant Creditors, the survivors’ committee representing 300 survivors of sexual abuse, agreed that the diocese will establish a trust to be funded with $87.5 million in compensation for survivors, the two groups said in separate statements.

The trust will be funded with the payout from the diocese and other related Catholic entities over four years, according to the statements. The agreement also stipulates improving protocols for the protection of children first implemented in 2002.

Once the settlement is finalized, the diocese will be required to publicly disclose its history of sexual abuse.

“The Survivors’ Committee is pleased to have reached a consensual resolution of its disputes with the Diocese and looks forward to facilitating an expeditious distribution to survivors of sexual abuse,” said attorney Jeffrey Prol, counsel for the Survivors’ Committee.

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According to the statements, the official settlement is still pending approval from bankruptcy court, which is slated for June, when the settlement will be presented to a bankruptcy judge for consideration.

“As part of the settlement, all 62 parishes [within the Camden Archdiocese] and other Catholic entities will receive releases,” the diocese said. “Claims against certain insurance carriers that provided insurance to the diocese will be assigned to the trust for the sole benefit of the survivors.”

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan said in the statement the diocese “is pleased that the mediation process has led to a settlement.”

“I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our Diocese,” Bishop Sullivan added. “My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey never happens again.”

The survivor’s committee said previously that leading up to the settlement, the insurance companies involved had “played hardball and refused to meaningfully honor their insurance obligations.”

“This day, this settlement with the Bishop of Camden is a powerful advance in accountability. The credit goes to the survivors for standing up for themselves and the truth. It is the survivors who have demanded responsibility and created a united effort against the insurance companies for denying survivors the true measure of justice,” said attorney Jeff Anderson, whose office represents 74 of the more than 300 survivors who filed lawsuits.

The settlement comes on the heels of an onslaught of allegations and suits against Catholic dioceses and religious groups across the United States, all claiming the religious entities covered up systemic sexual abuse of children over many years.

The Diocese of Camden, along with many other religious orders, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the wake of the allegations, according to previous statements from Anderson and his partners at Jeff Anderson & Associates PA.

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“The Diocese is running from accountability,” attorney Greg Gianforcaro said in a statement from October 2020. “Instead of standing up for the people entrusted to their care and acknowledging the harm done to children for which they are responsible, the Diocese is taking drastic, self-serving measures to ensure the truth is suppressed.”

According to documentation released by the Archdiocese of Camden, there are five dioceses within New Jersey, but parishes within archdioceses are separate entities under state law and therefore not technically part of the suit.

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