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Friday, July 10, 1998 Published at 20:03 GMT 21:03 UK

World: Americas

Catholic Church pays nearly $31 million to sex abuse victims

The Roman Catholic Church in the American city of Dallas has agreed to pay record damages totalling nearly thirty-one million dollars to twelve former altar boys who suffered repeated sexual abuse by a priest.

The settlement was agreed after the Dallas diocese said it was unable to pay an award of one-hundred-and-twenty-million dollars made to the victims by a jury last year.

The priest, Father Rudolph Kos, was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 after being convicted of sexually abusing the boys over an eleven year period.

During the court case, it was held that senior church officials had ignored warnings and had covered up the priest's activities.

A priest who runs a support group for victims of clergy abuse has estimated that the Roman Catholic church in the United States has paid out some eight hundred thousand dollars in such cases since 1985.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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