Del. diocese settles priest abuse claims for $77M

February 3, 2011 3:29:12 PM PST
A priest abuse victim awarded $30 million in punitive damages in a lawsuit says money motivated the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington to reach a settlement with abuse victims in its bankruptcy case.

John Vai of Wilmington believes the verdict in his case convinced diocese officials they had to avoid other such trials and settle with scores of alleged abuse victims.

The diocese agreed Wednesday to a $77 million settlement with nearly 150 alleged victims of sexual abuse. It also agreed to release internal church documents detailing how it handled the priest abuse scandal.

Vai said Thursday he is satisfied that the church's secret archives will finally be opened, but he noted that diocese officials have yet to personally apologize to any victim of priest sex abuse.