The settlement also calls for maintaining or improving protections for children, according to the parties. Because the agreement is wrapped up in the diocese’s bankruptcy, it requires a judge’s approval.
Mr. Anderson said that the diocese, its parishes and related entities, and the insurance companies representing them had tried to force through an unsatisfactory settlement by getting the judge’s approval without securing the plaintiffs’ agreement.
In the end, he said, the plaintiffs and the diocese arrived at a settlement that did not include the insurance companies. As part of the agreement, the diocese, its parishes and the related entities like schools gave the plaintiffs the right to pursue claims against the insurers.
That meant the litigation would continue, with the potential to substantially increase the amount of money the plaintiffs ultimately receive, said Mr. Anderson, a veteran of similar cases. He said that aspect of the settlement was a first in his experience.
The Camden diocese is one of about 30 dioceses and Catholic orders in the United States to file for bankruptcy, according to the website BishopAccountability.org, which tracks abuse cases against the church.
In New York, the dioceses in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Rockville Center on Long Island have also filed for bankruptcy. All face multiple abuse claims, as do New Jersey’s other four dioceses.
According to figures compiled by BishopAccountability.org, the tentative Camden settlement is among the top five payouts in abuse litigation involving the Catholic Church in the United States. It is larger than the $ 84 million paid out by the Boston Diocese in 2003, but below settlement figures in litigation in California and Oregon.