STOCKTON (CBS13) – The Diocese of Stockton could pay out a total of $15 million to more than two dozen victims who claim they were sexually abused by priests in the diocese.
Bishop Stephen Blaire announced Tuesday the diocese filed a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court as part of the proposed settlement.
CBS13 spoke to one of the first abuse victims who came forward almost 40 years ago who says the diocese should have taken action sooner.
“It’s a lifetime battle,” said Nancy Sloan, one of the victims who was abused by the now-defrocked priest Oliver O’Grady.
Sloan was one of the first victims to come forward and report being abused in the in 1970s.
“He befriended me at a Catholic camp, and would have sleepovers. When he asked to have another sleepover I fell apart, and after a series of events, it came out to my mom,” Sloan said.
Since then, O’Grady has admitted to abusing 25 children.
Now 51-years old, Sloan says the diocese didn’t do its research when it brought O’Grady to Stockton – putting hundreds of children at risk for sexual abuse.
“They failed us, so they need to go back to the drawing board,” Sloan added.
After decades of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests within the Diocese of Stockton, the diocese says it wants to give closure to the 27 victims who came forward in 2014 after the Diocese of Stockton filed for bankruptcy.
“I stand here in awe of the faith of our people,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire in response to all the sexual abuse lawsuits in his diocese.
Bishop Blaire says the proposed settlement will provide $15 million to survivors of sexual abuse, in addition to non-monetary commitments which include therapy and counseling.
The bishop says he hopes the courts approve the proposed plan to help victims cope with their abuse. But for Sloan, no amount of money can erase the painful memories from her childhood.
“You are affected the rest of your life,” said Sloan.
A judge will decide on whether to approve the plan in October. If the plan is approved, $750,000 will be set aside for victims who didn’t come forward during the bankruptcy announcement in 2014.