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Catholic Diocese of Rochester reaches $55M settlement for sexual abuse

A wooden cross is held and leads the way at the Way of the Cross event that leads a procession over the Brooklyn on March 30, 2018 in New York City. the Catholic Diocese of Rochester has reached a $55 million settlement with survivors of sexual abuse. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
A wooden cross is held and leads the way at the Way of the Cross event that leads a procession over the Brooklyn on March 30, 2018 in New York City. the Catholic Diocese of Rochester has reached a $55 million settlement with survivors of sexual abuse. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The Catholic Diocese of Rochester has reached a $55 million settlement with survivors of clergy abuse.

Under the terms of the settlement the Diocese and "related entities" will pay $55 million into a trust for survivors. There have been over 450 sexual abuse claims filed against the Diocese of Rochester in the past three years.

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The 2019 Child Victims Act, which temporarily extends the statute of limitations for sexual abuse, has prompted a flood of survivors to come forward with abuse claims against clergy in New York State. The sheer volume of claims has prompted four of the eight New York State Dioceses, including the Catholic Diocese of Rochester, to file for bankruptcy.

The Child Victims Act also lead to historic multi-million dollar settlements from the Boy Scouts of America, who have faced a flurry of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse in recent years. The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in February 2020.

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The settlement will require a bankruptcy court to approve a restructuring plan to move the Diocese out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"The Diocese of Rochester has filed a motion seeking approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York, of a Restructuring Support Agreement," read a statement from the Diocese on Thursday.

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"We believe that this Restructuring Support Agreement represents the fairest approach for the survivors and the most viable path forward for the Diocese," said Bishop Salvatore Matano.

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In addition to requiring the approval of a Restructuring Support Agreement, the more than 450 victims will have to vote on whether or not to go ahead with the settlement.

"While I know my words may seem hollow, simply repeating a rehearsed apology, I renew with sincerity my deep apology to survivors of sexual abuse," said Matano.

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