Diocese to offer settlements to victims who won't sue

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Richmond says it will offer monetary settlements to sexual abuse victims if they give up the right to sue.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the diocese announced the offer on Monday.

Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout said in a press release that the offer is "the best course for our diocese to reach a just reconciliation with our victim survivors.”

(backslash)The diocese said it does not know how much money will be needed for such settlements. But it said it will consider using its self-insurance program, investments and loans.

Victims who want to participate must initiate a claim by April 3 and file the claim by May 15. A Richmond-based settlement administration firm will evaluate claims and determine settlement amounts.

Settlements will be determined by various factors, including the nature of and number of instances of abuse.

Catholic dioceses across the country have paid out more than $540 million in settlements from 2014 to 2018, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ 2018 annual report on the response to the child sex abuse crisis.