The settlement is one of the largest ever involving the Catholic church in the United States.
O Camden diocese, which includes six counties in southern New Jersey, came an agreement with some 300 alleged victims of sexual abuse and filed it in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden on Tuesday. The diocese filed for bankruptcy in response to a flood of more than 50 lawsuits after New Jersey expanded its civil statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy to seek monetary damages.
“I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our Diocese,” Bishop Dennis Sullivan said in a statement. “My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse 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.”
The agreement still has to be approved by US Bankruptcy judge, who will likely give his ruling in early June. O settlement exceeds the $85m that the Boston Archdiocese paid to sexual assault victims in 2003, but is smaller than similar settlements in California and Oregon. The archdiocese of nearby Philadelphia has disse that it expects to pay out over $200m to sexual abuse survivors.
Attorneys said that survivors who filed a claim in bankruptcy court could receive up to $290,000 if the settlement is approved.
“This settlement with the Bishop of Camden is a powerful advance in accountability,” Jeff Anderson, an attorney for 74 of the roughly 300 survivors, disse. “The credit goes to the survivors for standing up for themselves and the truth.”
The settlement also ensures that the diocese will maintain or strengthen protocols it implemented in 2022 to protect children.