US diocese to pay $22m to victims
A Catholic diocese in the US has agreed to pay more than $US20 million ($22.3m) to victims of predator priests and says it will sell some of its real estate to foot the bill. The diocese of Burlington in the northeastern state of Vermont agreed to pay $US17.65m yesterday to 26 sex abuse victims and settled three appeals cases for undisclosed amounts, Bishop of Burlington Salvatore Matano said in a letter posted on the diocese’s website. Jerry O’Neill, from the legal firm that represented many of the victims, said the diocese’s total payout exceeded $US20m. The amounts awarded on appeal were withheld at the request of the victims, he said. To pay the bill, the diocese had put up for sale its administrative building in Burlington and its 10.5ha leisure facility, Camp Tara Holy Cross on Lake Champlain, and had secured a loan using other diocesan property as collateral, Bishop Matano said.