The Diocese of Syracuse has agreed to pay $100 million to compensate parishioners abused by priests, employees, and volunteers in the diocese. According to NBC News, it appears to be the largest payout by a U.S. Roman Catholic diocese since at least 2018, when the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis settled with over 400 victims for $210 million.
Catholic entities across New York faced a surge of claims when the state temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on child sex abuse in 2019. After being hit with more than 100 lawsuits, the Diocese of Syracuse filed for bankruptcy in 2020. The proposed settlement — which is a part of bankruptcy proceedings and still requires court approval — would resolve 411 sex abuse claims brought by 387 people.
Clergy Sex Abuse Settlements Nationwide
As states around the nation update their sexual misconduct laws, more and more clergy sexual abuse victims are suing the Catholic Church. Below are just some of the settlement amounts that other dioceses have agreed to pay survivors:
- New Jersey: In 2022, the Diocese of Camden agreed to pay $87.5 million to approximately 300 sex abuse victims.
- Pennsylvania: In 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia launched a reparations program for victims of sexual abuse. As of 2022, the Archdiocese had paid out more than $78.5 million to 438 survivors.
- New York: In 2016, the Archdiocese of New York established a victim compensation program, which had already paid over $60 million to survivors by 2018.
- Delaware: In 2011, the Diocese of Wilmington agreed to pay over $77 million to settle more than 150 claims of clergy sexual abuse.
- California: In 2007, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. That same year, the Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay nearly $200 million to 144 priest abuse victims.
Massachusetts Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuits
The effects of priest sexual assault can be long-lasting and devastating. The abuse of power and trust by religious leaders leaves victims feeling vulnerable and violated. Survivors often struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, and betrayal, and may experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Unfortunately, since many childhood sexual assaults happened long ago, many perpetrators died without facing responsibility. Thanks to a growing awareness of sexual misconduct, however, the Catholic Church is finally being held accountable. Many states recognize that it can take decades for childhood victims to report abuse. For that reason, Massachusetts gives survivors 35 years after their 18th birthday (up to age 53) to sue for sexual abuse that happened to them as children.
If you were abused by a priest, teacher, or someone else associated with the church, you may qualify for financial compensation. The compassionate attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP have decades of experience representing sexual assault victims. For more information on your legal rights and options (even if the abuse occurred many years ago), contact us today for a confidential free consultation.