Billings, Mont., Aug 2, 2018 / 18:00 pm
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings is awaiting the result of a vote by plaintiffs on whether to accept a $20 million settlement offered to 86 people who say they were sexually abused by 27 priests in the diocese. As a condition of the settlement, the names of those priests would be posted on the diocese's website for at least ten years.
Litigation began six years ago, and in 2017 the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection as it began negotiating the settlement. If the plaintiffs accept the settlement, funds will come from insurance coverage, parishioner contributions, and the sale of diocesan property, the Billings Gazette reported.
The plaintiffs in the case say there were abused by priests between 1943 and 1993.
The monetary portion of the settlement was offered in April, and a proposal to list the names of abusive priests online was added to settlement paperwork in a court filing July 3. The settlement would also require that the diocese post statements from victims of abuse on its website for a period of two years, and that diocesan bishop Bishop Michael Warfel meet individually with any abuse survivor who requests a meeting.