BOSTON, Massachusetts, SEPT. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Boston Archdiocese has agreed to pay $85 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by people who say they were sexually abused by priests, attorneys representing the plaintiffs said.
The deal, reached after talks involving Archbishop Sean O’Malley, would be the largest known sexual abuse settlement in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States, Reuters reported today.
“The deal has been sealed,” said Marcia Brier, a spokeswoman for the law firm Greenberg Traurig, which represents about 260 of the roughly 540 plaintiffs who brought clergy sexual abuse claims against the Church.
In a statement, Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the U.S. episcopate, said: “This is an important agreement. It demonstrates that the Church is committed to working out just settlements which seek to meet, to the extent possible, the needs of people who have suffered terribly. I hope that all the victims will choose to participate in this global settlement.”
He added: “Certainly a monetary settlement is only part of the process of healing. That is why the archdiocese will continue to offer psychological counseling to victims.”
“These were among the cases that precipitated 20 months of soul-searching by the Church,” Bishop Gregory said. “We are visibly seeking to heal our wounds caused by sexual abuse and moving forward as promised in the Dallas Charter of 2002.”