Diocese of New Ulm Reaches Settlement with Survivors of Abuse

A Minnesota diocese has reached a $34 million settlement with nearly 100 survivors of clergy sexual abuse. We hope that this settlement will bring healing to survivors and greater public attention to the ongoing issues of clergy sexual abuse.

We applaud the brave survivors from the Diocese of New Ulm who brought these claims forward and forced church officials in New Ulm to reckon with decades of sexual abuse, cover-up, and minimization. While money cannot undo the lifetime of harm from childhood sexual abuse, this settlement is a validation of the pain that these survivors experienced and a reaffirmation of the truth of their allegations and experiences.

At the same time, we know that more cases are still hidden and that more abuse is waiting to be uncovered. Just yesterday another priest from the Archdiocese of Minneapolis – St. Paul was accused and placed under investigation. According to SNAP’s own internal research, the numbers of abusive priests in Minnesota is eerily similar to the ratio of abusive priests uncovered in 2018 by A.G. Josh Shapiro, with approximately 4.5 victims per priest. Given this analysis and the fact that the average age of a survivor coming forward for the first time is 52, we suspect that there are still more hidden victims – and abusers – in Minnesota.

Critically, this settlement was only reached because survivors were empowered to come forward and report their abuse thanks to Minnesota’s Child Victims Act. Every time a window like the one in Minnesota has been passed, more survivors come forward, more experiences of abuse are learned about, and more communities can learn about potential abusers within their midst, helping protect children and prevent future cases of abuse. In the past year, nine states opened “windows to justice” for survivors and we hope that in 2020 every state around the country will follow in the footsteps of these legislators and introduce window legislation.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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