Church Settles with More Abuse Accusers
$2.6 Million Will Be Paid to 7 Ex-Altar Boys Who Cited Same Priest

By Tracy Johnson
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
August 27, 2005

Seven men have reached a $2.6 million settlement with the Seattle Archdiocese and a Kansas religious order over accusations that a priest sexually abused them in the 1970s when they were altar boys.

The Rev. John Forrester was accused of molesting four of the boys while he was serving at Holy Rosary in Seattle and the other three while serving at All Saints in Puyallup, according to their attorneys.

The settlement is believed to wrap up all known allegations involving Forrester, who is dead, though the Seattle Archdiocese still faces dozens of other sexual abuse claims.

The Seattle Archdiocese has now settled 197 such claims for $19.6 million since the late 1980s, according to its attorney, Michael Patterson.

Forrester was accused of molesting the boys on camping trips or other outings - some of them once and some repeatedly over the course of months or years.

Attorney Michael Pfau, who represents three of the alleged victims, said he believed his clients were glad to settle the matter, although "they understand that no amount of money will right the wrong."

Attorney James Rogers, who represents the other four, said the men were devastated by the abuse and are now "looking forward to going on with their lives as best as they're able."

The Seattle Archdiocese said its insurance would pay $1.6 million of the settlement, which concludes lawsuits filed in King County and Pierce County superior courts; the additional $1 million will come from the Benedictine order in Kansas.

Forrester was a priest of St. Benedict's Abbey when he was sent to serve in Washington, Patterson said.

In a written statement, Archbishop Alex Brunett said that he was "gratified that the Benedictines have acknowledged their responsibility for one of their own who served in this archdiocese."

He said that while no amount of money could alleviate the men's pain, he was "hopeful that this settlement will enable the healing to begin."


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