The Diocese of Camden, N.J., said on Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $87.5 million to settle claims made by hundreds of people who accused clergy members of sexually abusing them, one of the largest such settlements involving the Catholic Church in the United States.
In what may be a first for such litigation, the ultimate payout to the plaintiffs could be substantially higher, lawyers representing them said, because the settlement allows for further litigation against insurance companies for the diocese and related entities like parishes and schools.
“This is a triumph of courage, with all credit to the survivors for staying unified and strong,” Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for about a quarter of the roughly 300 plaintiffs, said.
In a statement announcing the settlement, Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, the leader of the diocese, said, “I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our diocese.”
“My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse,” Bishop Sullivan added, “and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, never happens again.”
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SOURCE: New York Times, Ed Shanahan