Figures from an audit show that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh paid more than a million dollars last year to settle five sexual abuse claims.
The claims were filed against two priests from the 1960s and 1970s.
Diocese spokesman Frank Morock says the payout was about double what the diocese expected. The diocese had budgeted about 600-thousand dollars to cover the costs and drew money from a self-insurance fund maintained by its churches.
The diocese has now paid almost 2 million dollars to settle sexual misconduct claims made by 37 people against at least 15 priests since 1950. Two of the priests have been cleared of wrongdoing, while the others have either died or retired.
Diocese attorneys plan to contest three other complaints that could result in legal action, a move advocates for abuse victims said would intimidate other victims.
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