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  Rochester Diocese to Settle with Victim Diocese Felt Moral Obligation to Provide Money in Priest Sex Abuse Case, Official Says

By Renee K. Gadoua
Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
May 22, 2002

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has agreed to pay to settle a sex abuse case against a priest.

The diocese was not legally bound to help since an appellate court ruling in February dismissed the lawsuit against the diocese.

"We felt a moral obligation to provide the funds the victim would need," said Michael Tedesco, diocesan spokesman.

Tedesco would not reveal the amount of the settlement, but said it is "a modest amount of money spread out over a number of years."

The Rev. William Lum pleaded guilty in 1997 to misdemeanor sexual abuse after admitting he molested a 16-year-old boy in 1992 in the rectory of a suburban Rochester church.

The diocese had placed Lum on administrative leave following allegations of sexual misconduct in the 1990s. He had been given a nonministerial position, but is no longer able to continue in that role as a result of a recent change in policy.

Lum remains a priest, but he cannot perform functions of a priest - including saying Mass - and cannot wear clerical clothing or live in diocesan or parish housing, Tedesco said.

The Rochester Diocese encompasses 12 counties, including Cayuga and Tompkins counties. Lum had not served in either of those counties.

The Rochester Diocese has removed seven priests from ministry since 1993 because of credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Two cases, including Lum's, involved criminal charges.

A civil suit against Lum was expected to begin this week in state Supreme Court in Onondaga County.

The Rochester Diocese is continuing to investigate new allegations against three priests, Tedesco said.

GRAPHIC: Neighboring dioceses; The Syracuse and Rochester dioceses have many differences, including; how they address priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.; Syracuse diocese; - Bishop: James M. Moynihan, assisted by Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J.; Costello; - Size of diocese: 350,000 Roman Catholics in 170 parishes in seven; counties: Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Oneida, Cortland, Broome and; Chenango.; - Number of priests: 197 in full-time ministry; - Highlights of policy: Revisions to 1993 policy include: adding; educational programs for clergy on such issues; hiring a full-time lay; Victim Advocate, who will be first contact for victims, and creating a; lay advisory board to advise the bishop.; - For more information: www.syrdio.org; Rochester diocese; - Bishop: Matthew Clark; - Size of diocese: 338,000 Roman Catholics in 157 parishes in 12; counties: Cayuga, Tompkins, Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario,; Seneca, Yates, Steuben, Tioga, Chemung and Schuyler.; - Number of priests: 141 in full-time ministry; - Highlights of policy: Revisions to 1993 policy include: Any priest; against who credible allegations of sexual misconduct are made cannot; continue in any ministry; reporting to legal authorities any; allegations of sexual misconduct brought to the diocese's attention.;

 
 

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