Since the 1980s, the Catholic Church in the United States and its insurance companies have paid out more than $3.8 billion in lawsuits and claims involving allegations of clerical sexual abuse, according to a monitoring group.
BishopAccountability, a non-profit that tracks allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, says the payouts involved cases filed by more than 8,600 survivors who were allegedly sexually abused by an undisclosed number of clergy since the 1950s.
Spokesman Terry McKiernan told CNN the number of associated clergy is difficult to calculate because some settlement announcements omit the number of predator priests.
The monies have not gone solely to survivors, McKiernan said. Attorneys get a cut, too. And not all the money comes out of the coffers of the Catholic Church, because the church maintains insurance policies that cover a portion of the settlement payments.