Crosiers’ $25 million abuse settlement approved

| March 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge approved a $25 million settlement for victims/survivors of clergy sex abuse in a case against Crosier Fathers and Brothers March 22.

The settlement was approved on schedule, despite public speculation from victims/survivors’ attorneys that a legal objection filed by attorneys representing the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis could delay it. The archdiocese withdrew its objection after the settlement plan was modified to address its concern.

“Despite commentary from others last week, the archdiocese never sought to block the Crosiers’ plan of reorganization or its settlement with victims/survivors, and doing so would not have benefited the Archdiocese in any way,” said Thomas Abood, chair of the archdiocese’s Reorganization Task Force, in a March 22 statement.

Like the Crosiers, the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of mounting clergy sexual abuse allegations, and it is working in mediation toward a plan for reorganization. In the statement, Abood emphasized that the archdiocese is “in favor of justly compensating all victims/survivors, including those asserting claims in the Crosiers’ case” and that its concern was “that wording in the Crosiers’ plan would have resulted in 23 of the Crosiers’ victims/survivors collecting the Crosiers’ liability to them from the archdiocese and its carriers.”

“This would have been unfair to hundreds of archdiocesan victims/survivors,” Abood said. “Such collection would have reduced the archdiocesan assets and insurance otherwise available to the other 400 victims/survivors who have claims against the archdiocese. Had the archdiocese not filed the objection, our insurance carriers would have taken the position that we had in effect waived the carriers’ rights to collect any payments they made for the Crosiers’ liability from the Crosiers, and that this waiver voided our coverage — meaning the archdiocesan insurers wouldn’t need to contribute to the trust we have been building for three years.”

Attorneys from Minneapolis-based Briggs and Morgan representing the archdiocese had been working to resolve the issue “for some time,” which was known by the victims/survivors’ attorneys, Abood said.

“As the [Crosiers’] settlement today shows, all that was needed was clarification that their plan does not allow abuse claimants to collect Crosiers’ liability from the archdiocese or its carriers,” he said.

The Crosiers are based in Phoenix but have a community in Onamia. Some of its members accused of abuse served in the archdiocese at the time of the alleged abuse, resulting in 23 overlapping abuse claims against the order and the archdiocese. There were a total of 67 claimants in the Crosiers’ bankruptcy case.

The Crosiers filed for bankruptcy in June 2017. According to a statement from St. Paul-based Jeff Anderson and Associates, which represents victims/survivors in the case, the settlement includes approximately $5.7 million from the Crosiers and $19.7 million from its insurer.

In a March 22 statement, the Father Tom Enneking, prior provincial of the U.S. Crosier Province, apologized for the “pain and sorrow the survivors have endured” and asked for prayers for them. The Crosiers’ website lists 20 members who have been credibly accused of abuse.

“We are grateful to all who worked with us to reach a fair and equitable resolution for the survivors,” Father Enneking said. “Our goal throughout this process has been to bring healing and reconciliation for the survivors who were hurt by the actions of a few Crosiers more than 30 years ago.”

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