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Kansas City Diocese Settles In Ongoing Civil Case, Resolves Other Abuse Claims

The Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will pay almost $10 million to settle dozens of sexual abuse claims filed since 2010.

The settlement, reached late Tuesday, includes 30 pending claims against the diocese and ends an ongoing civil trial in a case filed by former alter boy Jon David Couzens. Couzens, who alleges he was abused in the 1970s and '80s at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Independence, took the diocese to court last month. His case would have entered jury deliberations this week if not for the settlement.

In a statement, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priest – known as SNAP – expressed support for Couzens and others whose claims were closed with the settlement.

"This settlement won't magically heal them of the lifelong traumatic effects of the terrible assaults they endured as children," SNAP Director David Clohessy said in the statement. "But we are confident that this settlement will help them in their recovery."

Clohessy says he is disappointed that these claims won't go to trial, where he says more claims would likely have emerged.

In a statement, the diocese says its insurers will cover a large portion of the settlement, and the diocese will pay the rest.

"The Diocese sincerely hopes that this settlement can bring about some closure to those hurt by abuse in the past," according to the statement released Tuesday evening announcing the settlement. "The Diocese also prays for a healing which can bring peace to the hearts of all of those hurt by child sexual abuse."

Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.
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