Church sex abuse case nears settlement: victim speaks out - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Church sex abuse case nears settlement: victim speaks out

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Today marked the end of a three and half year legal battle that started in September 2011. Today marked the end of a three and half year legal battle that started in September 2011.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

There was a sigh of relief on behalf of attorneys today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This came after a judge approved a multi-million dollar settlement between the Catholic Diocese of Helena and more than 300 people who claimed they had been sexually abused by the diocese clergymen. Today marked the end of a three and half year legal battle that started in September 2011.

Abuse victim, Jane Doe, says the money is secondary to the suffering she and hundreds more endured.

"It doesn't go away, the pain never goes away," says Doe.

Doe says she was abused in 1954 when she was only 10 years old. Though the legal fight may be over, for her, it'll never end.

"Every time you see a nun, a priest, every time you walk past a church, you're reminded of it," says Doe.

In 2011, people like Doe began to come forward, the numbers quickly grew from 30 to 362. Lawsuits were filed against the diocese of Helena for sexual abuse and the Ursuline Nuns of the Western Province for allegedly knowing about the abuse and even participating. The current Bishop said at the time all of these allegations were overwhelming.

"It started out small and then it just became a tsunami," says Bishop George Thomas.

Thomas says after allegations were made he sought legal counsel and the first step they took was to step out in front and focus on the victims.

"Clergy abuse is really soul searing," says Thomas. "It has disrupted and in some cases ruined lives and that's why I feel today having the church take responsibility for the past actions of clergy is very important."

Doe appreciated Thomas and how open he's been over the past three and a half years, but the physical and mental wounds she's carried since her childhood do not have a price tag.

"Monetarily, it'll never be enough," says Doe.

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