St. Cloud Diocese Reaches Settlement Framework for Clergy Abuse Survivors

St. Cloud Diocese Reaches Settlement Framework for Clergy Abuse Survivors Click to Enlarge Photo: Jennifer Lewerenz/KNSI News

(KNSI) - The Diocese of St. Cloud says they have reached framework for a settlement for survivors of clergy abuse.

In a news release from the diocese, it says, "the resolution will include the diocese filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future. In the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the framework for resolution will include a consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse. This framework for resolution represents the diocese's commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse while continuing its ministry to those it serves throughout the 16-county diocese.

"The funds to be used to compensate survivors are made up of insurance coverage settlements and cash and property contributions from the diocese and parishes within the diocese."

Bishop Donald Kettler issued a statement about the agreement, saying, "I am thankful for the commitment of everyone involved in reaching the understanding we are announcing today. I am particularly grateful to the survivors of abuse for their courage in coming forward and sharing their experiences, and I again apologize on behalf of the Church for the harm they suffered. I remain committed to assist in the healing of all those who have been hurt, and I hope this is another step in that direction. I am also grateful to the faithful of our diocese for their ongoing prayers and support. Reaching an agreement on a framework for resolution prior to filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy significantly reduces administrative fees in the bankruptcy and preserves a larger estate to fund the trust for survivors."

In addition, the diocese has committed to disclosing the names of all clergy against whom credible claims of abuse have been made and to release the files of those clergy. The diocese also follows strict standards for determining the suitability of clergy serving in the diocese, starting during the seminary formation process and including verifying the credentials of priests visiting from other dioceses or from religious orders. The diocese promptly contacts law enforcement to report any allegations it receives regarding sexual misconduct by clergy or others involved in ministry within the geographic area the diocese serves.

The diocese continues to encourage anyone who has suffered sexual abuse to report such abuse to local law enforcement, regardless of when it occurred. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are also encouraged to contact the diocese's victim assistance coordinator, Roxann Storms, at (320) 248-1563 for counseling or other assistance in healing.

The bishop invites survivors of clergy sexual abuse to meet with him, if they wish, as part of their healing process.

To see a list of credibly accused clergy, click here.