National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Missouri diocese found in violation of contract with sex abuse victims

 |  NCR Today

The Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese has been ordered to pay 1.1 million for violating the terms of a 2008 settlement that was supposed to protect victims of sexual abuse, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.

A breach-of-contract lawsuit alleged that Bishop Robert Finn put children in danger by violating the settlement. Filed in the Jackson County Circuit Court, the lawsuit sought no damages, but requested the judge force arbitration upon the diocese. The ruling comes as a result of an inquiry by the 2008 plaintiffs into the handling of Fr. Shawn Ratigan’s May 2011 arrest on child pornography charges.

Arbitrator Hollis Hanover ruled that the diocese breached five of the 2008 agreement terms.  Hollis found the diocese in violation of its pledge to provide counseling to victims of sex abuse and their families, its pledge to not recommend the council of any priest who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse, to train its staff about sexual abuse, and to follow the law regarding the reporting of child sexual abuse. Hanover noted that the plaintiffs could have sought to declare the contract void and collect what likely would have been “a far larger award.”

“They have instead opted to seek damages for these noted breaches and to maintain the contract in force for the protection of children in the future,” Hanover was quoted in the Star article. “I here honor their preference and join in their hope that I am dead wrong in my opinion that this Diocese as presently constituted will not mend its ways.”

According to the Star, the diocese said that Hanover’s awarded damages of $450,000 paid to the attorneys, $650,000 to the plaintiffs, and $5,820 for unpaid counseling of sex abuse victims beyond the $10 million already paid in the 2008 settlement agreement were above the arbitrator’s authority.

09-12-2014_health.jpgTake a sneak peak inside our Health & Well-Being special section. These articles only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition, so subscribe today!

On June 20, the diocese responded to the March 23 order, filing a motion to vacate the order. The diocese’s motion, along with the plaintiffs’ motion to confirm the order will now go before a   Jackson County district judge.

 

 

A version of this story appeared in the July 18-31, 2014 print issue under the headline: Diocese told to pay $1.1 million for contract breach .

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.