The Evangelical Lutheran Church is ordered to pay USD $37 million in a church sexual abuse case. This is the largest per capita settlement on record for such a case in the United States and it all centers around a single Lutheran minister, Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr.
According to the lawsuit, former Bishop Mark Herbener of the Northern Texas-Northern Louisiana Synod, and former bishop's assistant Earl Eliason didn't act on clear warnings about Thomas' behavior.
The nine plaintiffs will each receive award ranging from $50,000 to $9.8 million. In addition, the Evangelical Lutheran Church must apologize not just to all the victims but also to parishioners across the country, review all current ministers, develop a policy for improved response to sexual abuse allegations, and create a national system for reporting and dealing with sexual abuse allegations.