NEW ULM (March 10, 2020) – U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Kressel gave final approval to the $34 million settlement between the Diocese of New Ulm, parishes within it, and those who have filed sexual abuse claims against the diocese and parishes. Claimants voted unanimously to approve the settlement.
This final approval clears the way for 93 survivors of sexual abuse to begin to receive compensation under the settlement, and it marks the end of a three-year bankruptcy process for the Diocese of New Ulm. Now, a trustee and claims reviewer, working independently from the diocese, will determine the amount of compensation each survivor will receive and plan for distribution of funds to claimants.
Funds for the settlement come from $26 million in diocesan and parish insurance coverage, $7 million in cash contributions from the diocese and a total of $1 million contributed by all parishes within the diocese, including parishes with no claims against them. These contributions are the right thing to do to provide for a fair settlement for those harmed and help survivors in their healing.
In addition to providing financial compensation for those harmed by abuse, the diocese has committed to 17 child protection protocols, designed to help protect children and young people from abuse and prevent sexual misconduct in ministry. The Diocese of New Ulm has already enacted many of these protocols, and diocesan and parish leaders continue to be committed to fulfilling each of them now and into the future.
The Church is a safer place for children and young people today thanks to the courage of abuse survivors who advocated strongly for changes to protect the vulnerable and hold abusers and Church leaders accountable. I am grateful to them for their bravery and perseverance. I apologize for the harm they endured, knowing that today’s settlement cannot make amends for all that was taken from them. For this, I am and always will be truly very sorry. Please join me in praying for the healing of survivors as well as doing what we can to assist them in the healing process.