October 25, 2005

Archdiocese's costs in sexual abuse cases drop

The Courier-Journal

By Peter Smith
The Courier-Journal

The Archdiocese of Louisville's costs associated with allegations of sexual abuse declined again in the past fiscal year and its overall finances have stabilized, according to an annual report issued by Roman Catholic Church officials.

Last year's abuse-related expenses were $370,710, the smallest amount since the archdiocese paid $25.7 million in 2003 to settle 243 lawsuits.

And the archdiocese announced that it had, for the third consecutive year, passed an audit showing it is complying with stricter policies on dealing with sexual abuse.

The news comes in the archdiocese's accountability report, which includes various annual summaries of church activities and a financial audit of the fiscal year that ended this June.

The abuse crisis started in 2002 when hundreds of allegations of sexual offenses emerged, along with evidence and testimony that the archdiocese had kept known abusers in ministry.

In the fiscal year ended June 2003, the archdiocese spent $27.8 million in settlements and other costs. It spent $524,797 the next year.

Of the $370,710 spent in the past fiscal year, the largest amount was $133,850 for legal fees. Most of that was for defending against lawsuits alleging sexual abuse at Catholic orphanages and schools, the audit said. Those lawsuits, which also name an order of Catholic nuns, are pending.

Posted by kshaw at October 25, 2005 07:38 AM