CHICAGO – The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said Tuesday it had agreed to pay more than $12.6 million to settle lawsuits by 16 people who accused priests of sexual abuse.
"My hope is that these settlements will help the survivors and their families begin to heal and move forward," Cardinal Francis George said in a statement in which he also apologized for the abuse.
Fourteen of the cases involve sexual abuse by 10 different priests and two relate to the Rev. Daniel J. McCormack, who pleaded guilty last year to charges he abused five children.
The archdiocese has now settled four of the five lawsuits stemming from abuse by McCormack.
"I apologize again today to the survivors and their families and to the whole Catholic community," George said.
"We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of the children in our care," he said.
The settlements were reached through a mediation process in which the cardinal himself gave a lengthy deposition.
Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented some of the plaintiffs, praised the mediation process and the cardinal.
"He has demonstrated his commitment to healing these survivors," Anderson said.
George previously acknowledged he failed to act soon enough in McCormack's case.