Catholic Church Settles $20m Sex Abuse Suit

The Record
August 14, 1996

BUFFALO, N.Y.— A woman who accused a Roman Catholic priest of sexually abusing her 22 years ago has settled a $ 20 million lawsuit in the case for an undisclosed sum.

Colleen McMullen Ptak and her husband, Stanley, filed the suit in March 1995 in federal court. The couple accused the Rev. Robert Biesinger of sexually assaulting and abusing Colleen Ptak, then 15, in 1974. The suit claimed Biesinger repeatedly molested the woman in a Chicago hotel room while she was on a trip with her drill team, the Baker-Victory High School"Guys and Dolls."Biesinger was director and coach of the drill team, and a faculty member at Baker-Victory, in Lackawanna, from 1968 to 1975.

Under the settlement agreement approved by U.S. District Judge Wayne Andersen, attorneys were prohibited from discussing the amount paid to the Ptaks, the Buffalo News reported Tuesday. The couple said they filed the suit as a last resort to help them pay their mounting medical bills. Although they agreed to the settlement, Colleen Ptak said she was angry the diocese has never apologized to her.

"No one from the diocese has ever said, We are sorry for your suffering, "she said."They could have saved me and my family a lot of pain if they acknowledged there was a problem, said, We're sorry, and helped pay the bills for my counseling. It could have been handled quietly and they could have saved themselves money."


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