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Victim Advocates Speak Out On DBQ Archdiocese

DUBUQUE, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Tonight, its the church asking for forgiveness.

I will repeat it as long as I have life's breath...I am sorry, said Archbishop Michael Jackels.

With the Archdiocese of Dubuque settling with 26 more victims of sexual abuse for a total of $5.2 million dollars, the total is now up to 83 settlements over the past seven years.

Jackels says they don't want to stop at a cash payment.

If there's anything that we can do or say to help with the process of healing and wholeness, we're ready to do that, Jackels said.

Steve Theisen with SNAP, or the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, says the church could have acted before it went this far.

They sent them from parish to parish after the abuse, and then unsuspecting children, unsuspecting parents knew nothing about it, Theisen said.

Theisen, also a victim of sexual abuse in the church, says as a result more children were impacted. Those Children grew into adults and suffer the consequences till this day.

I've met too many that because of the abuse, they turn to alcohol, the turn to drugs, Theisen said.

He says the money they will receive may help with necessary therapy, but ultimately you can't put a price tag on the pain.

There's no amount of moneyhow much money would you pay for a child to be molested? Theisen asked. You can't put a dollar figure on it.

More victims out there Theisen says, and he hopes is that this settlement inspires more to share their story. However he says there is a backlash within the church from members who think the victims are bringing the church down.

They've had to seek justice in the courts, and that upsets a lot of people in the pews,

Until that attitude is broken, Theisen says victims may continue to live in the dark.

I'd like to see the people in pews be more accepting of the victimsit wasn't their fault that some other church official knew about it and didn't say.

Of the 10 priests accused of abuse only two of them, William Schwartz and Allen Schmitt, are still living. Schwartz was dismissed from the priesthood in 2005. Schmitt has been moved into an administrative position.
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