Victims' Lawyers Consider Church Offer

By Eric Convey and Robin Washington
Boston Herald
August 22, 2003

With settlement talks in the clergy scandal at a crucial stage, lawyers for accusers huddled yesterday to mull the latest offer from the Archdiocese of Boston.

"No comment," said attorney Carmen L. Durso - a refrain echoed by other plaintiffs' lawyers.

Church officials were equally closed-mouthed following a report in yesterday's Herald that plaintiffs' counsel wanted $90 million to $120 million in response to an earlier $55 million church offer.

The Herald article did not intend to suggest that some victims might receive from $750,000 to $1 million. Those figures were used simply to illustrate how ranges work in large settlements and do not reflect figures under consideration for the present cases.

Also yesterday, a group of abuse victims, including many who are not suing the church, asked for meetings with Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley to propose changes in archdiocese abuse policy.

"While we are skeptical, we want to believe that constructive and collaborative actions, under your guidance, can and will be taken in order to create a safer environment for both children and adults," the group wrote.

The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for O'Malley, said the prelate "is always willing to meet with victims and their families."

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