Abuse Claims Are Settled in Washington

Associated Press, carried in New York Times
December 17, 2006

Washington (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has agreed to pay $1.3 million to 16 men who said they were sexually abused by eight priests from 1962 to 1982.

Although the men began pursuing the claims three years ago, in many instances the statutes of limitation had expired in the jurisdictions where they said the abuse had occurred, said Peter M. Gillon, a lawyer for the group. In addition, two of the men had already lost legal claims against the archdiocese.

"Our clients were in severe distress, emotionally, psychologically, financially and spiritually, and felt that a settlement was appropriate at this time," Mr. Gillon said as the agreement was announced Friday.

All eight priests accused by the men have been removed from ministry; seven were prosecuted and one was acquitted.

The settlement, first reported in Saturday's editions of The Washington Post, provides cash payments of $10,000 to $190,000 to each of the men.

The archdiocese includes more than 560,000 Roman Catholics in 140 parishes in the District of Columbia and five Southern Maryland counties.

The settlements will be covered by insurance reserves and not by other church assets, operating funds or collections, said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

Also on Friday, lawyers representing 45 people who sued the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, accusing clergy members of sexual abuse, announced that a $60 million settlement had been finalized and paid, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, leader of the archdiocese, had announced the settlement Dec. 1 and said that $40 million of the payment would come from the archdiocese's operations fund and that the rest would come from religious orders and insurance coverage.


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