Archdiocese Settles Suit over Sex Abuse
Former Priest Is Now in Prison

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
November 22, 2006

A teenager who was sexually abused by a former Raton priest has settled a civil lawsuit with the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

A federal judge has ordered terms of the agreement to remain confidential "for the protection of the child," according to the teenager's attorney, Robert Ortiz.

The former priest, 74-yearold George Silva, was sentenced in September to five years in prison and five years supervised probation for sexually abusing a teenager while on a religious tour in Europe.

Silva pleaded guilty to traveling to Portugal with the teen in June 2005 for illicit sex.

The civil lawsuit, filed earlier this year, named Silva, Archbishop Michael Sheehan and the archdiocese as defendants. The suit claimed that the church knew or should have known about Silva's "potential for improper acts" and failed to warn the boy or his family.

The suit alleged that the teen suffered severe emotional distress and "a loss of faith."

All parties have resolved the lawsuit, Ortiz said.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Sheehan and the archdiocese have denied responsibility for Silva's actions and claim they told police "immediately upon hearing about it."

Sheehan relieved Silva of his priestly duties in September 2005, after the church determined that inappropriate sexual contact had taken place.

The FBI arrested Silva last February.


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