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Oakland diocese settles abuse suits

SAN FRANCISCO – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland has agreed to pay $56 million to settle lawsuits filed by 56 alleged victims of priest sexual abuse, the diocese said Friday.

The agreement is a series of individual settlements with each remaining victim who alleged abuse by priests, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys. Negotiations took more than four months and were overseen by an Alameda County Superior Court judge.

The diocese did not say how much each alleged victim would receive.

“It is my heartfelt hope that reaching this resolution will help victim-survivors move forward ever more securely along the path of healing,” Diocese of Oakland Bishop Allen Vigneron said in a statement.

Larry Drivon, a Stockton lawyer who represents half the alleged victims, called the settlement “adequate and fair.” But, he added, “There is no amount of money that can ever bring back the stolen innocence and destroyed faith that sexual molestation by a child’s priest causes.”



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Sen. Maria Cantwell says governments should not be on the hook for coal mine cleanups

UPDATED: 12:25 p.m.

updated  WASHINGTON – Congress should end a practice that puts the federal government and states at risk of paying for expensive coal mine cleanups when mining companies go bankrupt, according to a new finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO, an investigative arm of Congress, is recommending that lawmakers eliminate the ability of coal mine owners to self-certify their financial wealth, known as “self-bonding.” The controversial process lets owners avoid putting up collateral or getting third-party surety bonds – a requirement of companies in every other energy sector.