An Update on Recent Settlements of Clergy Abuse Cases

 November 15, 2018

News media coverage this week highlighted several recent sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Seattle. The Archdiocese has reached settlements over the past two months in seven individual cases involving allegations of clergy sexual abuse. In each of these cases, the alleged abuse occurred between 30 and 60 years ago. The Archdiocese has attempted to arrive at fair and just settlements to assist victims with healing and to achieve some measure of closure. The members of the clergy involved in all of these cases are either deceased or have been permanently removed from ministry. All of their names appear among those on the archdiocesan public disclosure list first published in 2016.

In light of the media coverage, many have asked how settlement payments are made for clergy sexual abuse cases. Since the late 1980s, settlements approaching $100 million have been paid out for approximately 440 claims of sexual abuse of minors in the Archdiocese. Settlements directly with survivors, as well as those resulting from litigation, are included in this number. These payments are made by the Archdiocese’s insurance plan that is funded by premiums paid by parishes, schools, and other agencies of the Archdiocese, as well as the sale of archdiocesan properties. Additional financial details are available in the Archdiocese Annual Report.1

The Archdiocese has instituted numerous measures to ensure the prevention of further abuse while increasing transparency and accountability. No new known instances of clergy sexual abuse have occurred in the Archdiocese since 2007. Additional background information on the Archdiocese’s sexual abuse prevention efforts is available here.2

The Archdiocese of Seattle urges anyone who suspects abuse by any Church personnel to contact local law enforcement. In addition, anyone who has knowledge of sexual abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy, an employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Seattle is urged to call the archdiocesan hotline at 1-800-446-7762.