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Diocese of St. Cloud reaches $22.5M settlement with abuse survivors

The diocese will file for bankruptcy to facilitate the payments.

The Diocese of St. Cloud has reached a $22.5 million settlement with survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members.

The diocese says the settlement will form part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the near future, which will set out the framework for a "consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse."

It's the latest settlement between a Catholic diocese in Minnesota and survivors of sex abuse, coming just under a year after the Diocese of Crookston reached a $5 million settlement with survivors.

During the three-year period in which the Minnesota Child Victims Act allowed for civil claims to be brought for historic sex abuse, more than 70 claims were made against the diocese, which announced in 2018 it intended to file for bankruptcy in order to handle the claims.

"I am thankful for the commitment of everyone involved in reaching the understanding we are announcing today," Bishop Donald Kettler said. 

"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."

The diocese says it now has in place policies that require all clergy members, and staff and volunteers at the diocese, parishes and Catholic schools to meet safe environment requirements, which includes following a sexual misconduct policy, and undergoing criminal background checks and sexual abuse awareness training.

It has also committed to disclosing the names of all clergy against whom "credible claims of abuse" have been made.

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