Lawyers for hundreds of alleged victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests estimate that their clients’ claims could cost the Archdiocese of Los Angeles more than $1.5 billion, the largest amount ever paid out by a diocese, according to court documents. Attorney Raymond P. Boucher, the lead attorney for plaintiffs in Southern California, says the amount is based on verdicts and settlements in clergy abuse cases elsewhere in the country and is consistent with secret estimates of local claims done by a Los Angeles judge earlier this year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In a written request, Boucher asked insurers to put aside at least $3.1 million for each of more than 500 claims against the Los Angeles archdiocese. Another 60 claims are against the Diocese of Orange. If the cases are successful, damages would be covered by insurance as well as other church assets, as the insurance companies would not cover punitive damages.