Sunday, March 09, 2008

Church's Sex Abuse Payouts Hit Record $526 Million

While Pope Benedict XVI and his cabal at the Vatican continue to back anti-gay policies and seek to influence the secular laws of various countries to impede gay rights, perhaps the Nazi Pope should be spending more time cleaning out the Vatican's own house and firing all the bishops and cardinals who had complicity in the world wide sex abuse cover ups. Oops. That would probably include Benedict himself. How the Catholic Church has the gall to try to stand in the way of legal rights for normal, adjusted gays while continuing to coddle and support members of the heirarchy that fostered the cover ups - and in some cases brow beat families to remain quiet - is mind numbing. Why Catholics keep kissing the asses of the Pope and other morally bankrupt members of the heirarchy is something I will never ever understand. Here are highlights from a story that looks at the settlement payments during 2007 in the USA alone (,0,2904601.story):

The Roman Catholic Church paid out more than $526 million to settle sex abuse claims against clergy last year — including at least $3.8 million to victims of Connecticut priests.The statistics are included in a new report for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that measures how the church is dealing with a sex abuse scandal that continues to plague parishes across the United States. Although the number of sex abuse claims dropped for the third consecutive year, payouts to victims nearly doubled, to their highest level ever.

Total abuse-related costs, including settlements, legal fees, therapy for victims and support for offenders, surpassed $615 million for dioceses and religious orders.Several dioceses reached massive agreements with victims in the past 12 months. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles had the biggest by far, pledging $660 million to about 500 people. But many of those settlements have yet to be fully paid. Insurance covers some of the cost.

Nearly 14,000 molestation claims have been filed against Catholic clergy since 1950, according to tallies released by the bishops' conference. Abuse-related costs have reached at least $2.3 billion in the same period.Of the 691 new abuse claims in 2007, five cases involved alleged victims who were under age 18 last year. Some of the accused clergy in these cases were overseas priests working in the United States.

"It's tempting but irresponsible to assume progress has been made at this very premature stage," said David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "There always has been and always will be a lag time in reporting abuse."

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