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Iowa diocese settles clergy abuse claims for $37M

[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of Davenport [diocesan website] has agreed to settle 156 clergy sex abuse claims for $37 million [press release], paving the way for the diocese to emerge from bankruptcy. The Davenport, Iowa diocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy [AP report] last year, and a settlement agreement became a requirement of filing for reorganization in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa [official website]. The settlement agreement, reached last week, also requires Bishop of Davenport Martin Amos to write personal letters of apology to victims who want an apology, and for the Diocese to publish the names of offenders.

Other dioceses across the country have reached similar settlements. The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh settled 32 sex abuse claims for $1.25 million [JURIST report] in September, closely following a agreement [JURIST report] by the Catholic Diocese of San Diego to pay $198.1 million to settle 144 claims of sexual abuse by its clergy. A Los Angeles Superior Court in July approved a $660 million settlement [JURIST report] between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and plaintiffs in 508 outstanding clergy sex abuse lawsuits. In January 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane agreed to settle molestation claims [JURIST report] against its own priests for $48 million as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 [JURIST report] in 2004, and the dioceses of Tuscon, Spokane, and Davenport soon followed suit in the wake of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits [JURIST news archive] against clergy. The total settlements of all Catholic clergy abuse claims have cost the US church at least $2.3 billion since 1950. AP has more.

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