A Kentucky judge has provisionally approved the largest payoutyet in the US Catholic Church abuse scandal.
The settlement, between a diocese in the state and an unknown number ofsexual abuse victims, amounts to a record $120m (£68m).
The class-action suit accused the Church of covering up child abuse bypriests and others over 50 years.
The scandal has cost the Church more than $1bn in payouts since 1950,anAssociated Press review says.
In the Kentucky case, the diocese of Covington will have to make $40mavailable immediately from its assets, if the payout is confirmed by the judge,John W Potter, at a hearing set for January.
The diocese is suing insurance companies for the remaining $80m.
One of the plaintiffs in court was Richard Lillick, 63, who said he was firstmolested in 1957.
"I can't imagine anything better from our point of view," he said of thesettlement, which he described as "an attempt to root out a very grotesquecancer that's been eating at the diocese for years and years".
The judge has ordered attorneys to determine exactly how many people qualifyfor compensation.
Victims have until November to file claims, and could be entitled to awardsof between $5,000 and $450,000, depending on the severity of their ordeal.
The abuse scandal in the US blew up in the Boston Archdiocese three years agoand spread across the country.
Last year, a report commissioned by the Church said more than 4,000 US RomanCatholic priests had faced sexual abuse allegations in the last 50 years incases involving more than 10,000 children, mostly boys.