Woman's Case against Ex-Priest Settled

By Bill Douthat
Palm Beach Post [Florida]
June 3, 2004

A woman who sued a former priest for allegedly sexually assaulting her 31 years ago at Cardinal Newman High School has settled the case out of court for $220,000.

The woman filed the lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court two years ago under the name "Jane Doe," claiming Charles Cassetta assaulted her numerous times in 1971 and 1972.

The woman, now 49, said Cassetta was her homeroom teacher and adviser. Her suit said she repressed the memory of the attacks until April 2002, when she was undergoing psychotherapy.

Cassetta's attorney said Wednesday that the former teacher adamantly denies the woman's claims.

"The settlement in no way included any acknowledgement of wrongdoing or liability on the part of Mr. Cassetta," said attorney David Schertler of Washington. "He never assaulted or abused this young woman."

The woman's attorney, Ronald Weil of Miami, said the settlement was approved by Cardinal Newman and the Archdiocese of Miami, also named as defendants.

"The victim hopes the settlement of this action will give public exposure to the conduct of abusive priests and of the Catholic Church, which continues to shield and protect its clergy," Weil said.

The settlement was reached last week and the case has been withdrawn.


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