A Catholic religious order has filed for bankruptcy protection and agreed to a $25.5 million settlement to pay 43 sexual abuse survivors.
The Crosier Fathers & Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal bankruptcy court in Minneapolis Thursday.
"The decision to file for reorganization was difficult, but given the number of claimants who came forward when the state of Minnesota opened the statute of limitations for asserting claims of sexual abuse, we believe a Chapter 11 reorganization is the only way that all claimants can be offered a fair and just resolution within the Crosiers' limited financial resources," said Prior Provincial Thomas Enneking in a statement.
Crosier ran a prep school, which is where much of the alleged abuse occured in the 1970s and 1980s. The school has since closed.
Crosier still has a community in Onamia, Minn., and headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz.
Mike Finnegan, an attorney with Jeff Anderson and Associates, which represents 41 of the abuse survivors, said Crosier was very straightforward with its financial situation, which made the settlement process easy for his clients.
"I think most of them are relieved and are happy that there's at least some end in sight here," he said. "A lot of them have watched with anxiety and angst what happened in the archdiocese and I think are pleased that this looks like it's going down a much different path."
Finnegan said the process, if all goes well, would likely take six to nine months. He said in other similar cases, a mediator or retired judge helps to determine allocations on a case by case basis.
In a statement, the order said they're pleased "that the claimants and the Crosiers have been able to work together on a structure that will include funding for a consensual plan of reorganization of $25.5 million dollars to fairly compensate those who have been harmed."
Finnegan said Crosier Fathers and Brothers will also release all files of Crosiers credibly accused of sexual assault of minors. In 2014 it released a list of 19 priests and brothers with credible allegations against them.
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