4 Plaintiffs Settle Sex-Abuse Case with Archdiocese
3 Brothers, Mother to Receive $425,000

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times
December 12, 2003

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle yesterday announced it had reached a $425,000 settlement with four people who accused former priest John "Jack" Marsh of sexual abuse of minors.

The plaintiffs three brothers and their mother accused Marsh of abusing the three brothers when they served as altar boys for Marsh at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Renton. They say Marsh abused them between 1969 and 1973, when they were between the ages of 10 and 16.

Marsh resigned from active ministry in 1988 and was defrocked in 1989. He admitted in an interview with a television reporter in 2002 that he had sexually molested 10 children.

"I pray that these settlements will be a positive step toward healing the wounds of victims and restoring their trust," said Seattle Archbishop Alexander Brunett. "I offer my sincere apology to victims, their families and all those who have suffered as a result of abuse by priests."

One of the plaintiffs in the case, though, said he felt "angry and betrayed" by the settlement.

"I held hope that the church would do the right thing," said Steve, a 46-year-old Kent man who did not want his last name published. "But the amount of the settlement is peanuts based on what I feel is deserved for the amount of damage inflicted because of the abuse."

Archdiocesan attorney Mike Patterson characterized the settlement talks as having ended satisfactorily for all sides. "Their lawyers indicated that they were most grateful for the professional and compassionate way that we handled the mediation and settlements," he said.

The plaintiffs' lawyer, Ted Parry, did not return calls for comment.

Jim Biteman, a leader in the Seattle chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, commended the plaintiffs for "their courage to speak out about the suffering that they have been forced to endure at the hands of the Catholic Church. Though we feel that the amount of the settlement is far from adequate relative to what they have had to endure, we do hope the settlement will allow them to begin some sort of healing process."

Around the country, other recent mass settlements include $85 million to 552 accusers in the Boston Archdiocese; $25.7 million to 250 people in the Louisville Archdiocese; and $12 million to 19 plaintiffs in the Chicago Archdiocese.


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