ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has reached a settlement in her bankruptcy case with more than 400 sexual abuse victims, a lawyer said Thursday.
Victims ‘ attorney Jeff Anderson said he at a press conference in the afternoon to talk about a “consensual bankruptcy reorganization plan” between the victims and the archdiocese. His statement is not a dollar figure on the settlement.
A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed that a settlement was reached. The archdiocese also scheduled a press conference for Thursday afternoon.
The Minnesota Legislature in 2013, opened a three-year window in the statute of limitations that allowed victims of prior abuse to sue for damages. That resulted in hundreds of claims filed against the archdiocese and led to the bankruptcy in 2015.
The bankruptcy case was slow as lawyers argued over how much money the archdiocese has to pay. The archdiocese reported his net worth was $45 million. But the lawyers of the victims claimed that the archdiocese where is was worth more than $1 billion, counting the assets of the 187 Roman Catholic parishes, schools, cemeteries, and other church-related entities. The victims, lawyers said that those resources should be used to make more money available for victims.
A federal appeals court last month affirmed a decision of U.S. bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel in 2016 that the parishes and other non-profit entities independently, which means that their assets cannot be used in the event of bankruptcy. Kressel had in December rejected competing reorganization plans submitted by the archbishop and a committee of creditors, led by Anderson and ordered both sides back into mediation.
At least 15 Catholic dioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy, including three in Minnesota, if they wanted to protect themselves against the growing claims of sexual abuse by clergy. A fourth, Minnesota, diocese of, St. Cloud, announced it will file in February, but not a date.