|O'Donnell Avoids Trial by Confessing His Sins
November 8, 2008
O'Donnell avoids trial by confessing sins
SPOKANE - The former Spokane priest at the center of a decades old sex scandal has agreed to admit his guilt, but that admission could actually keep his victims from getting the closure they really want.
Former Spokane priest and pedophile Patrick O'Donnell has agreed to pay his victims $5 Million, but a settlement reached by attorneys also means he'll never have to appear in court and own up to his sins.
Many victims waited years to see O'Donnell appear in court and answer for what he did but to avoid next week's trial, O'Donnell admits he's guilty and has agreed to pay his victims millions.
While he's agreed to pay the victims millions there's one small catch: He doesn't have the money.
Patrick O'Donnell can't remember all the boys he abused; in a videotaped deposition he thought it might be more than 20 victims. That deposition is now the closest his victims will come to hearing the former priest confess that, while a priest in the 1970s and early 1980s, he was allowed to prey on young boys.
When people complained, church officials quietly moved him to a new parish where he found new victims. Police were never told, the statute of limitations ran out and now he can never charged with a crime.
O'Donnell was removed from the ministry in the 1980s and now lives in Western Washington.
Lawsuits from his admitted abuse helped push the Spokane Diocese into bankruptcy and he never paid a penny toward the $48 Million settlement. Victims' attorneys continued to pursue O'Donnell for damages and a trial was set for Monday but to avoid the trial O'Donnell has admitted guilt and agreed to the $5 Million judgment
His home in a gated community in La Conner is assessed at $276,000 and in February he was working at the Costco in Burlington. Attorneys for the victims say they will try to collect but state law allows O'Donnell to protect his retirement accounts and $125,000 of equity in his home.
This means victims won't collect much of the $5 Million judgment however O'Donnell is offering personal written apologies to any victim that wants one.
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