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Catholic church in Minnesota to make second-largest US payout over sexual abuse

The Hill logo The Hill 6/2/2018 Max Greenwood

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has agreed to establish a $210 million trust fund for 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse, church officials announced Thursday.

The payout is believed to be the second highest by the Catholic church in the U.S., according to The Associated Press.

"I recognize that the abuse stole so much from you - your childhood, your innocence, your safety, your ability to trust and, in many cases, your faith," Archbishop Bernard Hebda said at a news conference, addressing survivors of the abuse.

"Lives were forever changed," he continued. "The church let you down. I am very sorry."

The settlement resolves years of bankruptcy proceedings for the archdiocese.

It's not yet clear how much money each victim will receive, but Hebda said that the payments would be issued quickly. It must first go to a bankruptcy judge for approval.

Once it is approved, the victims will vote on whether to accept it. Jeff Anderson, a lawyer representing the survivors, told the AP that he expects the victims to approve the settlement.

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Anderson's law firm praised the victims for speaking out about the abuse, saying in a tweet on Thursday that it was "truly humbled."

"Hundreds of sexual abuse survivors rose up and claimed their truths," the firm tweeted. "Because of their power, long-hidden secrets and top church officials were exposed. We are truly humbled."

Fifteen Catholic dioceses or archdiocese have filed for bankruptcy amid claims of sexual abuse by clergy members. Three of those were in Minnesota. A fourth diocese in the state announced in February that it intended to file for bankruptcy, though it hasn't yet, according to the AP.

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