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Boston Archdiocese agrees to settle with hundreds of victims

Less than six weeks after becoming head of the Boston Archdiocese, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley has reached the largest financial settlement in US church history with hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by Boston priests.

"This is an important agreement," said US Bishops Conference President Bishop Wilton Gregory. "I hope that all the victims will choose to participate."

Gregory and O'Malley were in Washington for a meeting of the Bishops' Administrative Committee when news of the settlement broke on Tuesday afternoon local time.

The settlement - for up to $A129 million covering 542 lawsuits - came at the end of several days of intense negotiations in Boston between lawyers for both sides under a mediator, including a long session on Sunday afternoon and evening in which the archbishop personally participated.

"Certainly a monetary settlement is only part of the process of healing," Bishop Gregory said. "That is why the archdiocese will continue to offer psychological counseling to victims."

About 200 of the lawsuits involve claims of rape or sodomy. About 300 involve lesser forms of abuse.

Catholic News Service

Statement by President of Conference of Catholic Bishops
As the Boston Archdiocese Moves, Others May Follow (New York Times/Yahoo)
Church does right to begin the healing (Boston Herald)
Mediator will decide how much victims receive (Boston Herald)
Many wary about deal: Victims voice concerns over settlement language (Boston Herald)
Boston Archdiocese to Settle Claims for $85 Million (Zenit)
Church pays out over paedophile scandal (ITV UK)
Church abuse $131m settlement (The Australian/AP)

Professor disputes clerical child abuse statistics (Irish Catholic)

11 Sep 2003