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What Is the Average Settlement for Clergy Abuse?

The terrible crimes committed by clergy members of the Catholic Church continued for over 50 years and affected thousands. Recently, these abuses have resulted in thousands of cases against the Catholic Church and billions of dollars paid to survivors. To date, the Catholic Church and its dioceses have paid over $4 billion in lawsuit settlements to abuse survivors.

Settlements for Clergy Abuse 

If you or someone you know was a victim of Catholic Church sex abuse and are looking for reparations, you could receive a comparable settlement. According to the non-profit group Bishop Accountability, the average settlement for clergy abuse cases is $268,466 after legal fees. However, you could get much more than that depending on your case and location. 

Some of the largest per-person payouts have been over $1 million, with the largest payout coming from a lawsuit in Rockville Center, NY in 2007. In this settlement, each survivor received $3.4 million.  

Largest Settlements Per Victim

If you’re wondering about the largest settlements the Catholic Church has paid per victim, the list below will give you a good idea. Although these numbers are at the high end, they represent the variation in settlements received. They also pale in comparison to the damage done to survivors who may now suffer from mental health issues and/or substance abuse.

  • Rockville Center, NY – 2007 – $3.4 Million
  • Savannah, GA – 2009 – $2.54 Million
  • Dallas, TX – 1998 – $1.75 Million
  • Chicago, IL – 2003 – $1.5 Million
  • Milwaukee, WI – 2006 – $999,000

History of Clergy Abuse Settlements

The first settlement for a clergy abuse case was in 1986 in Lafayette, Louisiana. The 13 victims split a total settlement of over $5 million dollars, resulting in a per victim amount of $254,000. 

Initially, the Catholic diocese took these cases on individually. It is thought that this was done in order to prevent victims from finding one another and possibly building larger cases against the church. Large cases could attract media attention, which the church desperately wanted to avoid.  

Today, settlements that involve cases with 25 victims or more have been high, with the highest settlement resulting in $825,000 per victim. 

Statute of Limitations on Abuse Crimes 

Unfortunately, to date, thousands of survivors still have not come forward and some never will. Statutes of limitations laws will prevent many victims from ever being able to see their day in court. However, 15 states recently expanded their laws on statute of limitations that involve child abuse. These laws include look back windows allowing people to file no matter how long ago their abuse happened. 

Get the Justice You Deserve

Speaking out against the abuse committed by members of the Catholic Church’s clergy is an important step in empowering survivors. If you are seeking justice for abuse crimes committed against you or your loved one, now is the time to talk to a lawyer about your options. 

Call our office now (602-955-0055) and we’ll give you a free case review, because getting justice for you is important to us.

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