NEW ULM, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has approved the $34 million settlement of the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota and the nearly 100 people who say they were sexually abused by priests and others.

The settlement was reached last summer.

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“The Church is a safer place for children and young people today thanks to the courage of abuse survivors who advocated strongly for changes to protect the vulnerable and hold abusers and Church leaders accountable. I am grateful to them for their bravery and perseverance,” Bishop John LeVoir said. “I apologize for the harm they endured, knowing that today’s settlement cannot make amends for all that was taken from them. For this, I am and always will be truly very sorry. Please join me in praying for the healing of survivors as well as doing what we can to assist them in the healing process.”

According to the communications office with the diocese, the 93 claimants involved have voted unanimously to approve it. The next step will involve their claims being evaluated to determine award amounts for the individuals.

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The funds came from $26 million in parish insurance coverage, $7 million in cash contributions from the diocese, and $1 contributed by all parishes in the diocese, including some with no claims against them.

According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the number of abusive priests in Minnesota is similar to the ratio of abusive priests uncovered in 2018 by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro. The research, which was conducted internally, estimated approximately 4.5 victims per priest.

The announcement comes on the same day that another priest from the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St.Paul was accused of sexual abuse.

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