Jury Awards $37 million to Victims of Former Lutheran Minister
April 24, 2004
Nine victims of a former Lutheran minister were awarded $37 million by a jury on April 23, 2004. The verdict awards the nine plaintiffs amounts ranging from $50,000 to $9.8 million each. Nix, Patterson & Roach, LLP represented the plaintiffs.
In addition to the jury verdict, separate settlements were reached prior to the trial in the amount of $32 million with the Chicago-based denomination and the seminary that the former minister attended. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Lutheran authorities must apologize to victims and parishioners nationwide, develop a policy on responding to claims and preventing abuse, conduct a review of all current ministers, and create a national reporting system for sex abuse allegations. "Just as important today are the noneconomic agreements, which will hopefully not only be the start of a new reformation for the Lutheran Church but will also serve to raise the bar nationally for all institutions charged with public trust over our children," Nix, Patterson & Roach attorney Edward Hohn said.