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Deal reached in Boston pedophile priest case

All 86 alleged victims of one of Boston's most notorious pedophile priests have tentatively agreed to a $A18.23 million legal settlement with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, their lawyer said on Wednesday.

If approved by a judge at a hearing on Thursday and if the archdiocese does not renege, the deal would end the case at the epicenter of a priest sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church since January.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian said the deal was reached after a few remaining holdouts among the alleged victims of defrocked priest and convicted pedophile John Geoghan changed their minds and decided to accept the archdiocese's offer.

"My clients feel as though it's time for closure. They want to remove themselves from this darkness and try to heal," Garabedian told Reuters.

The archdiocese agreed in March to a $A27.34 million to $A54.68 million settlement of the case, but then abandoned the deal two months later when church finance officials balked at the price tag.

Details of the smaller offer leaked out earlier this month, but Garabedian said he had been unable to accept it until now because not all 86 plaintiffs would agree to settle.

Garabedian declined to specify how many plaintiffs had objected to the settlement, saying only that a "handful" of holdouts had changed their minds within the last 24 hours.

Under the terms of the deal, 50 plaintiffs will divide $9.3 million between themselves; 20 will split $540,000 and 16 will take the remaining $160,000. Garabedian's fee -- to be paid from the $10 million -- is one third or $3.3 million.

Archdiocese of Boston

Yahoo - Reuters

20 Sep 2002