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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Church Pays $10 Million|in Sex Settlement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) - The trial in a former altar boy's lawsuit ended in a nearly $10 million settlement that covers his case as well as 29 others who claimed sexual abuse by priests.

Jon David Couzens sued the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in 2011, claiming he had been molested by Monsignor Thomas O'Brien three decades ago.

Couzens originally sought $10 million in compensatory damages and an punitive damages.

The other lawsuits were filed from September 2010 to February 2014. They involved 13 current and former priests, some of whom have died. The plaintiffs claim the abuse happened between 1963 and 1987.

"Even though mine is just one of 30 lawsuits, this gives the other victims a chance to be free and be able to speak about it," Couzens told the Kansas City Star. "Not just these 30 victims, but those who haven't had a voice."

Insurers will cover most of the settlement, with the diocese picking up the rest.

"The diocese sincerely hopes that this settlement can bring about some closure to those hurt by abuse in the past," the diocese said in a statement.

It's the second time in six years the diocese has settled a large group of lawsuits in a single agreement. In 2008, the diocese announced a $10 million settlement with dozens of victims who alleged abuse by 12 priests going back decades.

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