Sexual abuse costs victims and their families unimaginable emotional and psychological damage. And, the Catholic Diocese of Tucson is finding out it also costs money: as much as $16 million.
The Diocese is releasing an in-depth report on the financial impact brought on by legal fees associated with sexual misconduct by church personnel with minors.
Rev. Gerald Kicanas, Coadjutor Bishop of Tucson, says, “We are restricted by a confidentiality agreement for the substantial settlement made in 2002,” in reference to a settlement estimated to be as high as 16 million dollars. However, church personnel can talk about the 1.5 million dollars paid by the Diocese over the last decade because of sexual misconduct.
“This figure saddens and discourages us,” says Kicanas.
The money paid has been broken down into five categories: “Costs of Settlements” ($155,000), “Cost of Counseling for Victims” ($115,000), “Cost of Evaluation and Treatment” of priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors ($215,000), “Costs of Paying Sustenance”, which is equivalent to paying salary and benefits to a suspended priest ($622,000), and “Legal Costs” associated with claims of sexual misconduct with minors by church personnel ($470,000).
Richard Hoffsmith, who attends St. John’s Catholic Church on Tucson’s south side, says, “Right now, by releasing all this, I like that it helps the church and community (move forward and heal).”