ALBUQUERQUE, NM – This was a decision that more than 370 survivors of sexual abuse had been waiting for years. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe and its insurers finally reached a $121.5 million settlement on Tuesday.
This follows six mediations and more than three years after Archbishop John Wester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in response to rising sexual assault claims against Church clergy. . Some cases date back more than 60 years.
“We talk when we need to, but no one has ever spoken about what they’ve been through,” said an alleged abuse survivor, who asked KOB 4 to call her only “Ana.”
She said she was only in seventh grade when she was first abused.
“It went all year and most of the first semester of eighth grade,” she said.
Although Tuesday’s decision brought Ana some closure, decades later, she said it will never really be enough.
“It’s just very traumatic,” she said. “I don’t know if there would ever be an amount that would make this better or worth it because I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I would have done anything not to have survived this, and I would have just had a regular college experience.
It could take months to distribute the money evenly among the hundreds of survivors. Once a judge approves a plan, he can never sue the archdiocese again.
Ana said that after years of mediation and having to revisit her trauma through legal proceedings, this is what needed to be done so that she and other survivors could finally move on and start to heal.
“I need peace,” she says. “I need closure, and I need to know that somehow it’s settled.”
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe released the following statement on Tuesday: