Chicago-Area Victims of Priest Abuse Discuss Settlements

By Karen Jordan
ABC 7 [Chicago IL]
October 27, 2005

The Chicago archdiocese says it settled two dozen cases of sexual abuse by priests. Many of these cases date back to the 1960s and 1970s. Some of the victims talked publicly Thursday about the resolution with ABC7's Karen Jordan.

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Attorneys for the abuse survivors say they have many more clients who say they were molested by priests in the Chicago archdiocese. They say that while the archdiocese has been helpful as far as compensating the victims, it could do more.

"I think the Catholic Church as a whole has not taken enough responsibility, or shown enough attrition, for letting what amounts to crimes against humanity to occur to young boys and girls," said Telkia Ramsey, alleged abuse survivor.

Telkee Ramsey and Peggy Huff are two of 24 people who say they were molested by priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The archdiocese recently reached a settlement with all two dozen plaintiffs, but no one will say whether the amount of money equals the $12 million it paid out to 19 people two years ago.

"Although I have reluctantly accepted the settlement by the archdiocese, it is miniscule compared to pain and suffering I've had and the amount of pain and suffering having been inflicted on others. For that, I'm truly sorry," said Ramsey.

Jeff Anderson is the attorney for the plaintiffs and says that while the settlement is a step in the right direction, there is more to be done.

"There are offenders out there in this archdiocese whose names are yet to be disclosed or known," said Anderson.

Anderson says the archdiocese has identified 55 priests, none of whom is in active ministry, with credible allegations of abuse against them. Only the names of 38 have been released, including Eugene Burns, who Peggy Huff says abused her when she was a child in Glenview.

"I was threatened by that priest," said Huff. "I was told that he would do harm to brothers if I disclosed any information about the abuse. At 8 years old, I quite frankly believed him."

A spokesperson for the archdiocese says any information about priests with accusations of sexual abuse is available on a Web site, which was created after the settlement in 2003. As far as this most recent settlement, it wouldn't comment, only to say the amount of money is not the largest they have had to pay out.


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