Settlement Covers Suit against Former Darien Priest

By Lane Kelley
Darien Suburban Life
July 20, 2007

Darien, IL — The largest payout made by the Catholic Church so far to victims of sexual abuse by priests includes the settlement of a suit filed last year against a former Darien priest.

The suit against the Rev. Robert Boley, former parochial vicar at Darien's Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, was among the cases settled this week by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for a record $660 million.

The suit states Boley accosted the unnamed woman — now 25 but then a young elementary student — while he was teaching at a Los Angeles parish in the 1980s.

"The church has accepted its responsibility and negligence for the actions of Father Boley," said Patrick Wall, a former canon lawyer who works for the Orange County firm representing the victim who sued Boley.

The settlement covers more than 500 victims. Wall's firm represented 50 plaintiffs included in the payout. Wall said he could not state the amount of the Boley settlement, though he gave a hint saying it settled "about the $1.3 million average."

A Chicago lawyer representing the Carmelite order, Jim Geoly, said the suit is part of the huge settlement, but does not include any admission of guilt by Boley.

"There is nothing in this case that has been developed in the way of evidence so far," Geoly said. "I'm not saying it did not happen, and I'm not saying it did happen, because there has been literally no discovery in this lawsuit."

Boley, 59, left Our Lady of Mount Carmel after church officials learned of the suit. Parishioners learned of Boley's departure at an Oct. 7 Mass.

The Rev. Mike O'Keefe, Our Lady of Mount Carmel pastor, said Boley works in the Carmelite archives but no longer lives in Darien.

"He's at our house in Joliet," O'Keefe said, referring to a Carmelite residence.

Wall commended the Carmelite order for agreeing to settle the cases in the Los Angeles archdiocese before Cardinal Roger Mahony's announcement of the settlement July 14.

"They accepted responsibility before the archbishop did, and I give them credit for that," Wall said of the order.

Mahony said the Los Angeles archdiocese will pay $250 million of the record payment, with insurers paying $227 million and various religious orders paying $60 million.

The remaining $123 million is subject to negotiation between plaintiffs lawyers and various religious orders, though the archdiocese has guaranteed it will cover any remaining payments.


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