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Over $20 Million Awarded to Victims of Abuse by Gallup Diocese

55 survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests belonging to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup and the Franciscan Order of priests were awarded roughly $24 million in a settlement on June 22nd. Each abuse survivor will be awarded an individual sum based upon the nature and extent of their individual abuse, however, the average award is approximately $350,000 per claim.

Documents pertaining to Rev. Hageman and other priests found to have raped children throughout the diocese had been released by a group called BishopAccountability.org. These documents show that rumors regarding Rev. Hageman’s rape of children had been circulating for years prior to his move to the Diocese of Gallup where he victimized more boys.

The Phoenix injury firm Montoya, Lucero & Pastor, PA represented 17 victims of abuse from throughout Arizona. The Gallup Diocese covers northern Arizona where many victims of abuse lived in predominately working class, Catholic neighborhoods.

U.S. Bankrutpcy Judge David T. Thuma presided over the case, which he noted was “kind of a catastrophe for the abuse victims and the church.” Many of the diocese’s victims had spent years wrestling with depression, addiction, incarceration, or homelessness.

The settlement brings to a close the sexual abuse cases against the Diocese of Gallup which have been in bankruptcy since filing for bankruptcy protection in November 2013. A portion of the award will be set aside to fund future sexual abuse claims against the Diocese.

Bishop James Wall of the Gallup Diocese informed the court that he will be doing “all that I can” to ensure “something like this…never happens again.”

More details of the case can be found here: http://www.abqjournal.com/795826/diocese-ordered-to-pay-settlements-to-abuse-victims.html