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Archdiocese of St. Louis Agrees to Pay $1M Over Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has agreed to pay roughly $1 million to a man who alleged he was sexually abused as a boy by a priest at Ascension Catholic Church in Chesterfield in the 1990s, an attorney for the plaintiff said.

The settlement appears to be the second largest amount the archdiocese is known to have paid one single victim in a sexual abuse claim. Both settlements resulted from lawsuits alleging abuse by the same former priest, Gary P. Wolken, one of the first St. Louis-area clergy to plead guilty to sexual abuse since the crisis shook the Roman Catholic Church two decades ago.

Wolken, now 57 and a registered sex offender, served 12 years in prison from 2003 to 2015 for sexually abusing a Ballwin boy from 1997 to 2000 while babysitting the boy. The archdiocese removed Wolken from ministry in 2002 and in 2004 paid nearly $1.7 million to settle a civil suit alleging church officials could have known about Wolken but failed to intervene.


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