Woman Reveals Priest-Abuse Settlement

The Associated Press, carried in Orlando Sentinel [Florida]
February 12, 2006,0,4242750.story?coll=/orl-news-headlines-state

A Manatee County woman who accused three priests of sexual misconduct has released copies of a $125,000 settlement she reached in 2004 with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

The archdiocese offered the settlement to Linda Lee Burke, 56, after she claimed a priest molested her 40 years ago when she was 16 and two other priests had sexual relations with her when she was a young adult, according to a copy of the settlement.

Burke said she decided to make the settlement public after seeing how the archdiocese handled recent allegations of sexual abuse by another priest, the Rev. Daniel McCormack.

Cardinal Francis George has said he responded too slowly in the McCormack case.

"I was very distressed when I heard all that and really thought the church had developed enough of a program that they would be able to address the issue," Burke said Saturday. She said she "realized I'm protecting these priests by not naming them."

The archdiocese acknowledged her accusations but no negligence or wrongdoing in its settlement with Burke.

Spokeswoman Dianne Dunagan said Saturday that the archdiocese does not comment on settlements.

Chicago attorney Joseph Klest confirmed that he represented Burke in the 2004 settlement, in which the archdiocese acknowledges Burke claimed one priest "sexually abused Burke while Burke was a minor" but denies negligence.

The settlement states that "some of the priests have either specifically denied that they abused Burke or are dead and unable to respond to these allegations."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.