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Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse to pay $100 million to survivors of sexual abuse

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has agreed to pay $100 million to survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

The deal is between the diocese and a committee made up of victims of abuse. Bishop Douglas Lucia said it’s an important first step in getting the diocese out of bankruptcy court by creating a trust fund for victims.

"This is not the end, but it is a significant moment because it is a concrete step toward establishment of the trust fund," Lucia said.

The funds will come from the diocese, individual parishes and organizations affiliated with the church, like Catholic Charities. Lucia said the diocese continues negotiating with insurance companies who represent the church, noting insurance companies typically contribute the majority of the funds paid to survivors of abuse.

Beyond the money, the deal also asks the church to beef up protocols that prevent any kind of abuse like this again.

"That is meant to move us forward as being an institution that will always be looking out to safeguard the vulnerable, whether it's the child or vulnerable adult," Lucia said.

Lucia, in a letter to the faithful, said he, "cannot apologize enough for the abuse, or any neglect in dealing with it.” The Committee of Unsecured Creditors calls this a “significant step forward in the healing process for over 400 victims” of clergy abuse in the Syracuse Diocese.

Lucia said this is significant because it’s a concrete step in establishment of a trust fund that will settle the 387 claims of sexual abuse by priests in the parish.

"It's a way of the church trying to make reparations," Lucia said. "No amount of money is going to take away the pain and sorrow that they've experienced, but on the other hand, this is meant to be a way of helping them along the way. I think that's really important that we're trying to help bring them some comfort and some peace.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.