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$20 Million Settlement Reached In Clergy Abuse Cases

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls and Billings reached a $20 million settlement agreement Friday with more than 80 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy as children, according to attorneys in the case.

The claims of sexual abuse date from the 1950s to the 1990s, according to attorney Dan Fasy who represented some victims.

He says the settlement process has helped some of his clients recover from feeling like victims, but for others, this is just another step in their healing.

"I think the resounding response I’ve heard from the clients I’ve been working with is," says Fasy, is "if this can prevent one child in the future from suffering the same fate of child sexual abuse, this will be a major victory."

Fasy says more victims came forward since the lawsuit was first filed in 2007.

In 2015, the Catholic diocese in Helena settled for a similar amount with roughly 360 victims.

While the money side of the most recent settlement has been negotiated, other, non monetary terms are still being worked on. Victim attorneys say they want the final settlement to include an apology from the local bishop.

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