Monday, July 16, 2007

Deal Reported in Los Angeles Abuse Cases

Richard Sipe with Pope John Paul II
International Conference on Celibacy Rome - May 1993

Lawyers for more than 500 people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic clergy members said last night that they had settled their lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for $660 million.

If approved, it will be by far the largest payout made by any single diocese since the clergy sexual abuse scandals first became public in Boston in 2002. It will dwarf the $85 million paid for 552 claims by the Archdiocese of Boston.

The settlement, which archdiocese officials have said would require the sale of church property, appeared to bring the drawn-out legal wrangling to a close.

Steven Sanchez, a 47-year old financial adviser who is one of the plaintiffs in the case set to begin on Monday, said he had been girding himself to testify about the abuse he suffered when he was 9 or 10 years old, and he said he wanted to see church officials called to account in a courtroom.

Asked before the settlement was disclosed what he would do with any money he might receive, Mr. Sanchez said simply, “Where can you take that check and cash it that will make you 10 years old again?”

Mary Grant, 44, is an abuse victim whose case was settled by the Diocese of Orange, in California, and is a plaintiff in the Los Angeles cases. Ms. Grant is Western regional director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and counsels other victims. Earlier yesterday, she said any settlement in Los Angeles would be “a bitter release.”

Abridged and edited for E.A. read N.Y. Times article here >>

Check out Aljazeera's version here >>

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