Diocese And Morning Star Ranch Reach Settlement Agreement
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Diocese of Spokane handed out a letter to all of its parishioners Sunday. This letter was written by Bishop Blase Cupich announcing that they had reached a settlement with the victims of the Morning Star Boys Ranch case. The Bishop told KHQ that he was very happy that the diocese did not have to close any churches. This case has been in mediation since October of 2010. In his letter, the Bishop said that the settlement met all four of the diocese's goals. No parish will be foreclosed, all appeals will be withdrawn, the church will pay 1.5 million dollars in claims cases and mediation expenses, and Federal Judge Michael Hogal will be the Tort Claim Reviewer and will be in charge of any new future claims in the next four years. The Bishop also wrote "This is an important and significant turning point in a very sad chapter of our diocesan history. We can never forget the harm done to children, who deserved better from the Church and her ministers. Once again, I apologize to the survivors of the sexual abuse by clergy and to the families of survivors."
The attorney for 26 of the victims in this settlement, Tim Kosnoff, talked to KHQ and he said that this settlement "obtained some justice. I wish it could have been more, but it is validation, and it's closure for them, and compensation and I hope that they can put this chapter behind them and move on with their lives," Kosnoff said. He said that he was happy that this process is over, but was not thrilled with the outcome. "It was reasonable under the circumstances…this was not a victory, but it was not a defeat, we salvaged a case out of a very difficult situation."
Kosnoff said that this was a very difficult mediation, but says everyone involved is glad it's over. Kosnoff said. "My clients are relieved, I am relieved, I think everyone involved in the process is relieved." The attorney also said that some parties were more corporative than others. "I would credit Bishop Cupich, I think he played a positive role under the circumstances for him, the board of directors of the Morning Star Boys Ranch were not corporative, and they were probably the most difficult to deal with," Kosnoff said.
KHQ did talk to a representative from the Morning Star Boys Ranch and they would not comment on this issue.
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