YAKIMA, WA – It’s been seven years since a lawsuit involving 86 claims of sexual abuse against a church in Great Falls, Montana began. This week, that lawsuit came to an end. The law firm that started the case back in 2011 is Tamaki Law Offices located in Yakima. The church, the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings in Montana has agreed to pay $20 million to settle a case that involves 86 claims of sexual abuse.
The lawsuit states multiple priests and nuns working at the church sexually abused children from 1950 to 1990. Attorneys say the case became challenging when the church filed for bankruptcy because they risked the case going back to state court and causing a huge challenge.
“How do we try 86 cases in rural Montana, 86 cases to one judge and that judge would of been struggling to find the resources to process 86 different trials,” said Bryan Smith, attorney at Tamaki Law Offices.
Smith says $20 million does not make up for what happened to these victims, but that it does hold the church accountable and gives victims a sense of closure.
Tamaki Law represented 36 of the victims, and Smith believes there may have been more victims.
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