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Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks To Pay Abuse Victims

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 29, 2010 12:15 PM

The Anchorage Daily News reports that as part of a bankruptcy plan, the Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks will pay abuse victims nearly $10 million dollars. The plan includes sending a bishop to travel to parishes where sexual abuse occurred and putting the names of suspected abusers on the diocese website.

Approximately $9.8 million dollars will go into a fund for about 300 victims of sexual abuse. There will be another $2.5 million dollars that will be set aside for attorneys, accountants, and other professionals involved in the case. The amount given to each victim will be decided by mediator. Some of the factors that the mediator will most likely consider will be: the nature and severity of abuse, the age of the victim at the time it started, and whether the perpetrator was in a position of trust. A variety of priests, nuns, deacons, brothers and even church volunteers are suspected of abuse.

Bishop Donald Kettler told the Anchorage Daily News that he felt sorry for the sexual abuse victims: "I will be visiting their villages. I will invite them to come see me one-on-one. I will invite them to come to some church and community healing services. And I will have listening sessions with them and then the whole community." Bishop Kettler will also read a letter of apology to each affected parish under the plan.

The settlement fund for the abuse victims could get even bigger. The abuse victims will be able to pursue claims of abuse through two insurance companies: Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. and Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America.  

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