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Los Angeles Diocese Opts for Huge Payout in Sexual Abuse Cases

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest in the US, is believed to have agreed to pay sexual abuse victims around $660 million, the largest such settlement in recent history .

The amount, which would average a little more than $1.3 million per plaintiff, exceeded earlier reports that the settlement would be between $600 million and $650 million.

Some Roman Catholic orders the Servites, Claretians and Oblates will be carved out of the agreement because they refused to participate, the source said.

The settlements push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion, with about a quarter of that coming from the Los Angeles archdiocese.

It wasn't immediately clear how the payout would be split among the insurers, the archdiocese and several Roman Catholic religious orders. A judge must sign off on the agreement.

The settlement also calls for the release of confidential priest personnel files after review by a judge assigned to oversee the litigation.

The release of the priest documents was important to the agreement, Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff's attorney said, because it could reveal whether archdiocesan leaders were involved in covering up for abusive priests.

"Transparency is a critical part of this and of all resolutions," he said.

Plaintiff Steven Sanchez, who had sued the archdiocese claiming abuse by the late Rev. Clinton Hagenbach, who died in 1987, said he was relieved.

"I was really emotionally ready to take on the archdiocese in court in less than 48 hours, but I'm glad all victims are going to be compensated," he said. "I hope all victims will find some type of healing in this process, he said.

The settlement is the largest ever by a Roman Catholic diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002. The largest payout so far has been by the Dio
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