A reader sent me the following article:
An attorney representing people who allege they were sexually abused by priests says Catholics in Eastern Washington can settle their church’s sex-abuse crisis and bankruptcy for $60 million — half of which he suggests could come from parishioners.
Bishop William Skylstad already has $30 million at his disposal from asset sales, insurance settlements and pledges from Catholic Charities and related organizations.
The remaining $30 million could be raised through what those involved in negotiations are calling the "latte-a-day" plan.
"We’re not asking for anything that can’t be done," said attorney Tim Kosnoff, who represents multiple sex-abuse victims.
Attorneys representing various parties in the bankruptcy are known to be considering the plan following the Bankruptcy Court’s rejection of an earlier settlement agreement proposed by Skylstad, which provided for $35 million in Spokane diocese funds and indicated parishioners might have to cover the balance.
Well in reality the concept is nothing new. When most large corporations get constantly sued they pass on the costs to the consumer via price increases. While I have great sympathy for the victims of sexual abuse and very little sympathy for those who have cooperated in by not taking immediate action, I also have little sympathy for these multi-million dollar suits. Demanding that parishioners who were not involved in these actions cough up money is not justice. It is like arresting a sexual predator in the park and then fining everybody who happened to also be in the same park or really any park in the county.
Exposing those who have abused or those who have enabled them is of prime importance. But bankrupting a diocese only causes further injustices. Lawyers seeking after alleged deep pockets don’t care if pro-life and apostolate for the poor don’t get funded. Cash remunerations do not correct injustices of bishops and others in a diocese involved in cover ups or just plain bad judgments, especially since it does not come out of their pockets. They just release "sorry about that" statements and pretty much except in the case of Cardinal Law go about their business. These lawyers are not seeking justice, just money. Unfortunately it also seems that all of these lawsuits is what was required in the first place to get the bishop’s attention.
Update: Dom also weighs in.