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Iowa Archdiocese To Pay $9 Million Abuse Settlement

Oct 29, 2004 | AP

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport agreed to pay $9 million Thursday to settle 37 claims of sexual abuse by priests a deal that could lift any immediate threat of bankruptcy.

The settlement averts a potentially embarrassing series of trials over the church’s handling of abuse claims dating back 50 years or so.

"This has been a tragic time for our church," Bishop William Franklin said. "It is my prayer that true healing may now begin in the Diocese of Davenport."

The settlement, reached after weeks of negotiations, will be covered by insurance and diocesan funds, Franklin said.

Before the settlement, the diocese had warned that it might file for bankruptcy a step already taken by dioceses in Tucson, Ariz., and Portland, Ore.

Franklin said it is unclear how the settlement would affect the church and the services it provides to its 102,000 parishioners. Earlier this month, he announced layoffs and early resignations to trim church staff from 44 employees to 18. He also mentioned selling church property, including a retirement home for priests.

Franklin declined to release the payment received by the diocese’s insurer. In a court hearing earlier this month, diocese attorneys calculated church assets at $10 million.

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