$130 million now available for Archdiocese sex abuse victims

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Tuesday announced they will double the amount of money available to survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

As part of its bankruptcy plan, the archdiocese now says it has $133 million available to victims of clergy abuse. Previously, the pot of money was pegged at $65 million. Church leaders explained that the new funds became available through negotiated deals with the church’s insurance companies.

“Our goal all along is to promote healing, to bring forth goodwill, to express good will in our actions, not in our words,” said archdiocese attorney Charles Rogers. “We hope this is seen as action towards evidence of the archdiocese promoting goodwill.”

More than 400 abuse victims have come forward to file a claim against the archdiocese. Their lead attorney, Jeff Anderson, argues the money still does not add up.

“It has to be called out for what it is -- it is a sham, scam, lie, misleading, deceptive and sad,” Anderson said. “It’s time for truth and transparency. It’s time for accountability.”

Anderson argues the church continues to shield its assets and he is demanding to take on the insurance companies individually in litigation.

“They should make the insurance companies pay the way we can make them pay under our plan, where we can hold them directly accountable for their responsibility,” Anderson said.

The archdiocese’s updated bankruptcy plan still needs to be approved, with abuse victims getting a chance to vote on the settlement package. The next court hearing in the case is set for Dec. 15.