L.A. Archdiocese Will Pay Out $8 Million to Abuse Victim

The Archdiocese has paid $740 million in sexual abuse settlements over the past 15 years.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will pay an unnamed teenager $8 million as a part of the settlement agreed upon in court. The teenager was subjected to sexual abuse for a lengthy period by her Catholic high school’s athletic director. Juan Ivan Barajas, the perpetrator, had been permitted to work by school authorities despite prior misconduct allegations. David Ring, the teenager’s attorney, said the court finalized the settlement during the second week of April. He pointed out that such payouts are frequent in the Catholic Church. The archdiocese itself was forced to give $740 million to meet sexual abuse settlements over the past 15 years. He noted that the $8 million sum is the most significant tranche of money paid to one person in Church history.

This incident is the latest of many to shock the Roman Catholic Church; a teetering institution almost pushed over the edge in the past year by a series of concerning sexual abuse scandals. As per local leaders, the Vatican has quickly kickstarted many reforms specially created to identify the many abuse allegations and immediately take action. According to the archdiocese, the Church has tendered profuse apologies to the student. She and her family will meet Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. Spokesperson Adrian Marquez Alarcon said that the difference between this case and the other cases was that the archdiocese itself participated in negotiating the settlement. As per Alarcon, allocations made in other sex abuse instances were done by the victims’ counsel with the oversight of the court. There was no participation by the diocese.

The documents submitted to the court by prosecutors narrated a sordid tale of Barajas abusing the girl multiple times and ultimately kidnapped her. He took the victim to Las Vegas during the 2016 summer after his wife found molestation evidence on his mobile phone. Juan Ivan Barajas, an athletic director and health teacher at the San Gabriel Mission High School, started to have sex with the victim, who was then 15 years old, in 2016. The now 38-year-old has pleaded guilty to the crime of statutory sexual seduction. He was subsequently sentenced to a total of six years inside prison walls. The lawsuit made the allegation of the archdiocese failing to take any action despite multiple misconduct complaints made by other students of the all-girls school.

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