The recent settlement reached by the Los Angeles Archdiocese certainly catches our collective breath for the staggering amounts of money involved. At $660 million, it is the largest sexual abuse compensation package negotiated in the country. The settlement resolves over 500 claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic clergy just before the first of the cases were to start trial.
Is the settlement amount a reflection of how badly the Archdiocese wanted to keep its secrets secret? Was it coincidence that the first of many clergy sex abuse trials was about to start? Before this is over, the Catholic Church and its insurance companies will have paid over a billion dollars in settlements to abuse victims. Apparently it was worth a billion dollars to the Catholic Church to keep their dirty laundry from being aired in public courtrooms with the media hanging on every word.
A report in the Los Angeles Times stated that each of the 508 plaintiffs could receive amounts ranging from just about $100,000 to over $3 million. That is a big spread. How are the individual claims going to be valued? The short answer is, on the relative value of each case, prorated against the entire settlement fund.
It’s important for the successful plaintiffs in a matter like this to understand that the value of their case is not necessarily equal to the harm suffered. They are two very different things. At the same time it doesn’t mean that one victim’s suffering is worth more than another’s in terms of money. It just means what a case is worth depends more on what can be proved than on what really happened. For example, victims who could show evidence that they were molested once, attempted suicide, suffered alcohol and drug addictions as a result of the abuse may have a much more valuable case than another victim, who was raped repeatedly over a course of years, claims to be suffering from emotional distress, low self-esteem and relationship issues, has not been involved in any type of therapy and has no expert witnesses to testify to their emotional issues.
Essentially each case will be decided on the strength and value of its evidence. What each victim will receive will depend on the law and the jury appeals of the case and not necessarily the harm suffered or the degree of culpability of the perpetrator, in this case the priests.
Numerous victims of Roman Catholic Church clergy sexual abuses have discovered that they waited too long to come forward and their rights expired. Don’t wait. Get a consultation with an attorney familiar with these cases before your rights expire.
A confidential, free consultation with me can be arranged by calling my office and asking for a “confidential consultation” with me. There is not fee or obligation.