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Finding justice for clergy sex abuse victims

Church teams with advocate to plot course for compensation
Justice for clergy sex abuse victims.jpg
Posted at 4:22 PM, Jul 08, 2024

BALTIMORE — Forced to face lawsuits over decades of sexual abuse at the hands of some of its own, the Archdiocese of Baltimore turned to bankruptcy.

“One of our main goals in filing for Chapter 11 includes compensating those individuals,” said Archbishop William E. Lori, who adds the church wasn’t ducking its duty.

He claims it’s providing a path toward healing in their lives by compensating them with the help of a creditor’s committee made up of seven victims representing all of the others.

Just how many remains in question for now.

“We don’t want to release the actual number of survivor claims until we’ve accurately identified the correct number, and this is much more complicated than it seems on the surface,” said Committee Chair Paul Jan Zdunek.

Duplicate, vague and otherwise questionable claims may impact the final number, and it appears those cases could take months, if not years to sort out.

Ultimately, victims will be offered a settlement and will have an opportunity to vote on it.

While the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy last year, both sides agree that the goal of this process is not to shut the church down.

“I think we’re going to work to achieve a number that is mutually agreed upon, but that will still enable the Church to continue its mission,” said the archbishop.

Lori added that the church has spent the last few decades taking steps to combat such abuse, and its impact is reflected in the scant number of cases spanning period.