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US clergy abuse payout exceeds $A128m

A judge has unsealed the details of a record $US100 million ($A128.7 million) settlement with a Southern California diocese over sex abuse allegations against clergy.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that alleged victims sobbed as they spoke publicly about a deal that was nearly two years in the making.

Monday's settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange marks the single largest clergy abuse settlement to date. The Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay $US85 million ($A109.4 million) to 552 plaintiffs in 2002.

"Let this be what everyone remembers from today: that nothing is more important than the protection of our children and our youth," Bishop Tod D Brown (pictured with an alleged clergy abuse victim) said during a news conference after a brief court hearing.

"I seek their forgiveness, I hope for reconciliation and I know that they have now begun their healing process," he said.

Some of the plaintiffs cried while others hugged Bishop Brown.

"Today I sit with you next to my brother in Christ, who has practised his faith - not just with the money, but I see the compassion of Christ in this man," said plaintiff Mark Curran as he choked back tears.

"Today, we can stand and we can say, 'I forgive you.' And of course I do. Of course we forgive you."

US clergy abuse payout exceeds $A128m (Sydney Morning Herald 5/1/05)

Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange | Breaking the Silence: Preventing the Sexual Abuse of Minors
US Conference of Catholic Bishops: Restoring Trust - a Response to Sexual Abuse

Study finds US Catholics angry over handling of scandals (CathNews 11/11/04)
Bishop says church has 'turned corner' on sex abuse crisis (CathNews 11/11/03)
Vatican expected to back US bishops on abuse strategy (CathNews 25/9/02)
Vatican receives US church's policy on dealing with sexually abusive priests (CathNews 4/7/02)

Church pays record $128m to US abuse victims (The Age 5/1/05)

5 Jan 2005