July 15, 2007

Deal Reported in Los Angeles Abuse Cases - New York Times

It is an interesting question--is it really enough simply to pay off the victims with what is, ultimately, not that much money to a worldwide, tax-exempt organization with billions of dollars in assets?

Deal Reported in Los Angeles Abuse Cases - New York Times: "Asked before the settlement was disclosed what he would do with any money he might receive, Mr. Sanchez said simply, “Where can you take that check and cash it that will make you 10 years old again?”"

Lawsuits over sexual abuse have already cost the Roman Catholic church in the United States more than $1.5 billion. Each diocese must handle the costs on its own, with no assistance from the Vatican.

Settlements are far more common, and victims in California have consistently won some of the largest payouts. In California, the Diocese of Orange paid $100 million for 90 abuse claims in 2004 and the Diocese of Oakland paid $56 million to 56 people in 2005. The Diocese of Covington, in Kentucky, paid about $85 million to about 350 people.

Five dioceses have filed for bankruptcy protection: San Diego; Davenport, Iowa; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; and Tucson.

Here are a few of things I have long wondered in these cases: Why aren't more of the child molesters in prison, and why, more directly, aren't the church authorities who covered things up for decades not being jailed for co-conspiracy to felonies? Why can these tax-exempt institutions file for bankruptcy just because the far deeper pockets of the Vatican had unilaterally decided not to be involved? Isn't there a broader lesson about the abuses of the public trust that have not been adequately expressed?

No comments: