Abuse Victims and Diocese Working on Settlement

WWLP [Springfield MA]
Downloaded May 25, 2004

There could be a possible settlement between the Catholic Diocese of Springfield and those who claim to be abused by clergy members. But the amount being discussed isn't sitting well with some victims. Because they're still in the mediation process, neither the church nor the lawyer representing the 46 alleged victims, will confirm the dollar amount. But some victims say the diocese is offering $7 million and say that's not enough. Both Tom Martin and his childhood friend Steven Block say they were abused by former priest Richard Lavigne as children. And they believe Lavigne is responsible for the death of their other friend, alter boy Danny Croteau. That's what made them come forward in the first place. Although the diocese won't comment on the details of the settlement offer, they did issue a statement expressing optimism for a successful end to the negations. The statement reads in part: we remain hopeful that a settlement will be achieved so that the healing process can continue for all involved. But for Tom and Steve, whatever money the church ultimately produces, it will only go so far. If $7 million is in fact the settlement amount, it would average out to about $150,000 per person.