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Monday, July 13, 1998 Published at 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK

World: Americas

Church pays $31m to sex abuse victims

The offences took place over an 11-year period

The Roman Catholic Church in the American city of Dallas has agreed to pay nearly $31m to 12 former altar boys who were sexually abused by a former priest.

Professor Peter Simbolic, of the Catholic University of America: "The case has devastated morale."
The Church, which had earlier agreed a multi-million dollar settlement with three other claimants, had been ordered to pay the victims nearly $120m by a court last year.

It was the largest settlement ever issued in an abuse case against the Catholic Church.

The Church claimed the ruling would put it into bankruptcy, and began negotiations with the victims that concluded in Friday's settlement.

[ image: Kos: life imprisonment]
Kos: life imprisonment
The priest, Father Rudolph Kos, was sentenced to life in prison in 1997 after being convicted of sexually abusing the altar boys over an 11-year period.

The court heard the offences were carried out on hundreds of occasions between 1981 and 1992.

Kos would befriend the boys, and provide food, drink and video games to tempt them to his church living quarters after school.

A former altar boy, who had given evidence against Kos, reportedly described the settlement as "a day of relief for everyone." But, he added, "the pain will never go away."


Another victim committed suicide at the age of 20.

Bishop Charles Grahmann, of Dallas, has publicly apologised to the victims, saying: "We accept the burden of the verdict. I regret very much what happened, and I am deeply sorry for your pain."

The settlement includes a so-called sex-abuse risk audit, under which consultants will be bought in to advise the church what measures to take in future.

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