Two black victims of clerical sex abuse in Mississippi were paid just $15,000 each in exchange for their silence about their claims, the Associated Press reports. The payments are a fraction of the average $250,000 most victims receive as a settlement for the abuse. The lower payments were made by the Franciscan Friars, who admit that one of their brothers carried out the abuse but deny that the men’s race or poverty played a role in the lower payout. “He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,” one of the victims, La Jarvis Love, 36, told the Associated Press about negotiating his settlement with church officials. “Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.” Jarvis’s cousin was the other victim who settled for $15,000. “They felt they could treat us that way because we’re poor and we’re black,” Joshua Love told the AP. A third cousin who is also a victim, Raphael Love, did not accept the payment. He is serving double life sentences for homicide he committed at 16, a few years after the abuse occurred.
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