Diocese of Knoxville reaches settlement in lawsuit

As an act of pastoral outreach and without admitting wrongdoing, the Diocese of Knoxville has agreed to a request by Mr. Michael Boyd for a financial settlement of the lawsuit he fi led
against the diocese in July 2019.

The diocese has throughout denied the validity of the claim. However, the diocese also recognizes that further pursuing this matter through the legal system could be time-consuming, costly, and detrimental to its mission of service.

“Despite my personal feelings regarding the claim that names two now-deceased priests, I hope that this action offers Mr. Boyd a path to peace and reconciliation,” Bishop Richard F. Stika said.

When first presented with Mr. Boyd’s allegations in 2018, the diocese immediately contacted state authorities and encouraged Mr. Boyd to file a report with law enforcement. The diocese also turned over
relevant materials to an independent and highly qualified criminal defense attorney not connected with the Diocese of Knoxville or its diocesan review board.

Based on a report submitted by the investigator, the diocesan review board, the majority of whose members are lay persons not in the employ of the diocese, determined that the allegations against Monsignor Xavier Mankel, Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell, and others named in the suit could not be substantiated.

“This diocese remains committed to acting with compassion and prudence regarding abuse allegations,” Bishop Stika said.

This settlement will be covered by insurance and will not impact the diocesan budget or its charitable missions.

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