May 10, 2005

Diocese to sell churches to pay abuse victims


Last Updated Tue, 10 May 2005 00:31:41 EDT
CBC News
ST. JOHN'S, NFLD. - A Roman Catholic diocese in Newfoundland plans to sell its churches, parish buildings and land to raise money to compensate people who were sexually abused by a priest.

The St. George's diocese, based in Corner Brook and taking in the westernmost third of the island, announced the action on Monday.

Bishop Douglas Crosby said the diocese hopes the property sales will provide most of the money it needs for a $13-million settlement with 36 victims of Father Kevin Bennett.

Bennett was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing dozens of boys while he worked in the diocese, largely in communities on the island's south coast. He served four years in prison.

The victims launched a civil suit and in 2004, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that they could sue the Episcopal Corp. of St. George's.

Crosby sent a letter to all churches across the diocese on the weekend, asking parishioners for donations to buy back some of the properties.

Posted by kshaw at May 10, 2005 04:29 AM