DAVENPORT, Iowa — The Diocese of Davenport has emerged from bankruptcy after paying $37 million to victims who allege they were sexually abused by priests.
The reorganization plan called for the diocese to pay $17.5 million to nearly 162 victims of sexual abuse, and its insurer to pay an additional $19.5 million. The diocese was also asked to take additional steps to ensure sexual abuse is prevented, as well as to thoroughly investigate claims and apologize to victims.
According to the shocking claim, the sexual harassment dates all the way back to the 1940s.
The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2006, saying it could not afford to pay restitution to victims. Bishop Martin Amos said the bankruptcy process allowed victims to receive “just and fair compensation” and the church to continue its mission.
“While the bankruptcy process has closed, it will not end the suffering by some survivors of abuse. I pray that the healing process for the survivors of abuse will continue,” he said.
The diocese added that it would continue to require training for its employees to prevent future sexual harassment, as well as would require background checks on any employees or volunteers working with children.
However, Craig Levien, a Davenport sexual harassment attorney who has represented several victims, said he believed the diocese has not yet come clean. He believes that there are other perpetrators that have not been brought forward and that the bankruptcy filing was merely a tactic to avoid the responsibility of compensating victims.
“The bankruptcy was a legal maneuver by the diocese to end their financial responsibility for past abuse,” he said. “It’s a sad chapter but it’s also an unfinished chapter.”
According to diocese spokesman David Montgomery, two other Iowa sexual abuse cases are under investigation.
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