Sunday, March 26, 2006

Range of settlements for victims questioned

Mary Zahn reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the wide range of amounts paid by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to settle claims of sexual abuse by former students at St. John's School for the Deaf (see previous post). Recent settlements in our Archdiocese's mediation program are much larger than those with some claimants who came forward years ago.
"It is unequal and it pits the survivors against each other," said Alisa Cohen-Stein, a Chicago-area licensed clinical social worker who has treated several of Murphy's victims. "What a really cruel way to divide and conquer. I don't think they are deliberately doing this, but it has this effect."

I've said I wish Archbishop Dolan had quickly moved to settle all claims of all kinds. Such a global approach might have meant we wouldn't still be reading about claims now and wondering if California cases or a change in Wisconsin law will bankrupt our Archdiocese. But it wouldn't have made any difference for those who had settled long ago.
Kathleen Hohl, communications director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said the archdiocese supports victims who share their stories. However, she said, the information regarding how payments are determined is confidential.

That title of communications director, by the way, emphasizes the directing, not the communicating.
Through June, the archdiocese has spent about $10 million on settlements, therapy and other types of assistance for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, she said.

More than 95% of which did not go to Paul Marcoux.
Jim Smith, a Milwaukee attorney who represented [claimants Steve] Geier and [Pat] Cave in mediation, said the archdiocese places victims' experiences in one of three monetary categories: $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000. Any extra money, in general, is being offered as cash in a separate category for counseling, he said.

Remember how Ms. Hohl didn't want to disclose how settlements were determined? That might be so claimants don't get hints on how to get more, like asking for money for counseling.


Blogger Pacem said...

Equating Mr. Marcoux's experience with sexual abuse of children is wrong. Mr. Marcoux was a consenting adult. By saying that does not in anyway forgive the sin of Mr. Marcoux and Archbishop Weakland. (Forgiveness is God's to give and not ours to comment upon.)

5:12 PM  
Blogger Terrence Berres said...

The article doesn't say the $10 million was for claims of "clergy sexual abuse of children," it says "clergy sexual abuse." Without more, I assume that includes the settlement with Mr. Marcoux.

If, as you say, Marcoux was a consenting adult and thus not a victim of clergy sexual abuse, then wasn't the $450,000 paid to him "hush money," and wasn't that misusing Church funds for a personal expense?

8:42 AM  

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