Some 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse will likely vote this month on a reorganization plan for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to a timeline laid out Thursday in a federal bankruptcy court hearing.
The tentative settlement reached in May provides about $210 million to compensate abuse survivors. All victims would receive at least $50,000, with greater awards going to many, if not most victims, depending on the nature, duration and effects of the abuse suffered.
• The settlement: Twin Cities parishes react
Abuse victims will begin a month-long vote on the plan about Aug. 21, pending judicial approval. If victims endorse the plan, it would go to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy for his approval in late September. Then there would be determinations made about how much money each victim gets.
"We are doing everything to condense the time frame so that we can not only get the plan approved but make the distribution to the survivors that have suffered so long and so hard and do it hopefully by the end of this year," said attorney Jeff Anderson, who represents abuse survivors.
Since victims helped develop the plan, approval is highly likely.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he is glad to see the bankruptcy — well into its fourth year — nearing an end.
"We're happy that we're moving forward," he said. "People from the different sides are all working together on this."
Outside the courthouse, abuse survivor Colleen Longhenry of Becker, Minn., said she would appreciate getting some money, which she says will help her offset educational expenses. But Longhenry says money is not the most important thing she'll get out of a settlement.
"It's about (protecting) the kids not even born yet," she said. "There's things put in place where they will never ever know abuse. And that's the main thing, really."
Survivor David Lind from Cottage Grove said he thinks it'll be hard to judge what is fair compensation for individual victims.
"Who gets what percentage? That's a Solomonic task," he said.