Church abuse victims to vote soon on reorganization plan

Church abuse victims to vote soon on reorganization plan

Church abuse victims to vote soon on reorganization plan

Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis speaks during a May 31 news conference in St. Paul announcing the archdiocese has reached a joint reorganization plan with a committee representing survivors of clergy sex abuse. From left is Tom Abood, chair of the Archdiocesan Financial Council and head of the archdiocese's Reorganization Task Force; Tim O'Malley, director of the archdiocese's Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment; and Janell Rasmussen, deputy director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. (Credit: Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit via CNS.)

Hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse will likely vote this month on a reorganization plan for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that will compensate them for the abuse.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — Hundreds of victims of clergy sexual abuse will likely vote this month on a reorganization plan for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis that will compensate them for the abuse.

According to a timetable laid out Thursday at a federal bankruptcy court hearing, some 450 victims will begin to vote Aug. 21, pending judicial approval. Minnesota Public Radio News says if the plan is endorsed it would go to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy in late September. Then it would be determined how much money each victim gets.

“We’re happy that we’re moving forward,” Archbishop Bernard Hebda told the station, adding he is glad the bankruptcy is almost over. “People from the different sides are all working together on this.”

The tentative settlement reached in May provides about $210 million to compensate abuse victims. All victims would receive at least $50,000, with greater compensation depending on the nature, duration and effects of the abuse suffered.

Approval is expected since victims helped develop the plan.

“We are doing everything to condense the time frame so that we can not only get the plan approved but make the distribution to the survivors that have suffered so long and so hard and do it hopefully by the end of this year,” attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents abuse survivors, told the radio station.

RELATED: St. Paul archdiocese creates plan for $40M abuse settlement

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2015, two years after the Minnesota Legislature opened a three-year window that allowed people who had been sexually abused in the past to sue for damages. That resulted in hundreds of claims being filed against the archdiocese.

Most of the funding, roughly $170 million, will come from insurance carriers, said Thomas Abood, chairman of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and Reorganization Task Force. The archdiocese has committed to paying the remaining $40 million.

The plan includes the archdiocese paying out $5 million over five years, planned property sales to three Catholic high schools contributing $4 million, and $3 million in voluntary contributions from nearly 200 parishes. Nearly $9 million has already been raised in land and asset sales.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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