Church Pays $815,000 to Settle 4 More Cases

By Kathryn Marchocki
The Union Leader [New Hampshire]
Downloaded May 9, 2003

An attorney who represents scores of people who say they were sexually abused by priests settled four more cases against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester for $815,000 this week.

Attorney Peter E. Hutchins yesterday said this brings to 79 the number of settlements he has reached with the diocese for a total $6.8 million since the clergy sexual abuse crisis exploded early last year.

The four cases settled Wednesday involve one woman and three men who were sexually abused by three diocesan priests from 1972 through 1990, the Manchester lawyer said.

Hutchins said the diocese accepted the allegations as true.

"We've accepted these as credible accusations," diocesan spokesman Pat McGee agreed.

Hutchins withheld the priests' names at his clients' request to protect the victims' identities.

None was on the list of 14 priests accused of past sexual misconduct that was released by Manchester Bishop John B. McCormack in February 2002, Hutchins said.

At least one of the priests in the most recent settlement is dead, McGee said. The others are no longer in active ministry, he said.

Neither McGee nor Hutchins would say whether any of the three priests are the current targets of criminal investigation.

The settlements will be paid through the diocese's insurance, McGee said. No funds from general collections, Catholic Charities or schools will be used, he said.

The diocese paid a total of $6.29 million in settlements involving 87 men and women in 2002, McGee said. The total amount in settlements paid this year was not immediately available, he said.

McGee said the diocese is still in negotiations with attorney Mark Abramson, who has about 60 alleged victims who have brought claims against the diocese.


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