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Dublin: 9 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

Abuse victims to receive $16.5m as Christian Brothers declare US bankruptcy

Two corporations behind the ‘Irish’ Christian Brothers will enter ‘Chapter 11′ bankruptcy, which allows them to reorganise.

Image: quinn.anya via Flickr

OVER 400 SURVIVORS of institutional abuse in the United States are to receive compensation totalling $16.5 million after approving the terms of a bankruptcy by the North American branch of the ‘Irish’ Christian Brothers.

The survivors – acting as a committee of unsecured creditors – have approved a Chapter 11 deal for the Christian Brothers Institute and The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Incorporated, which is based in New York.

The money will be put up by the order itself and by one of its insurance carriers.

The amount shared by each survivor will be dramatically less than some of the settlements paid to some abuse survivors before the bankruptcy process began in 2011, but the settlement was nonetheless welcomed by an attorney representing the survivors.

“What this settlement demonstrates is how courageous survivors are able to effectively seek justice and accountability, from even the largest international religious institutions who endanger children,” said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota-based lawyer specialising in historical abuse claims.

“No institution should ever be allowed to be a safe haven for adults who hurt children,” he added.

The bankruptcy of the Christian Brothers’ company will still allow survivors to continue claims against other related parties, including the dioceses and schools where the abuse occurred.

Anderson said the abuse had occurred at schools in California, Washington State, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Hawaii.

Though the company name refers to Ireland, the company is not understood to have any significant link to this country, and refers to Ireland only to differentiate itself from the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a separate congregation originally founded in France.

Read: One allegation of abuse within Irish Catholic Church in 2012

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