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National Center for Victims of Crime Endorses Settlement of Clergy Abuse Cases and the Adoption of Child Protection Protocols


October 15, 2014
Contact: Tara Ballesteros

Washington, DC -- The National Center for Victims of Crime praised a historic agreement between attorneys representing adult survivors of clergy sexual abuse and the Bishops of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.  Jeff Anderson, a leader of the National Center’s National Crime Victim Bar Association, announced the agreement October 13th in an unprecedented joint-press conference with Bishop Andrew Cozzens and Reverend Charles Lachowitzer, the vicar general for the archdiocese. 

As part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by a man who was sexually abused by Reverend Thomas Adamson in 1976 at the age of 14, the Catholic Church announced a radical change in how it will handle and respond to cases of sexual abuse.  Rather than fight victims in the courts, the archdiocese will work to settle victims’ claims, turn over hundreds of thousands of documents to victims’ lawyers, and enact 17 different child protection protocols.  The protocols will also remove all investigation of abuse allegations from Church officials and transfer those duties to independent investigators, among other important procedures to support and protect victims of sexual abuse.

“This historic agreement will bring justice and healing to survivors and resolution and reconciliation to the Catholic Church,” said Jeffrey R. Dion, Director of the National Crime Victim Bar Association, an affiliate of the National Center for Victims of Crime. 

Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota based attorney who has represented thousands of victims of clergy sexual abuse, explained that the Church’s transformation on the issue was a welcome surprise. “We have been working to hold the Church accountable for the last thirty years and have been critical of their response to this crisis. Over the past several weeks we have been impressed with their candor and transparency, and have confidence that the protocols set forth in this agreement will be honored.”

Anderson also gave credit to The National Center for Victims of Crime for the central role the organization played in the passage of the Minnesota Child Victims Act in 2013, the catalyst for these negotiations.  The Child Victims Act opened a three-year window in which sex abuse lawsuits can be filed even if the statute of limitations has expired.  It also eliminated the statute of limitations for civil claims moving forward.  The National Center is currently working to pass similar legislation in other states. 





The National Center for Victims of Crime, established in 1985, is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. For more than 25 years, the National Center has led this nation’s struggle to provide crime victims with the rights, protections, and services they need to rebuild their lives.