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CA Diocese Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuit for Record $100 Million

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California, settled for a record $100 million a lawsuit brought by 87 people who alleged they were sexually abused by priests and lay employees. “I believe that the victims will be fairly compensated, and, at the same time, that our diocese will be able to continue its service,” said Bishop Todd R. Brown, according to the Los Angeles Times. “But this settlement involved millions of dollars, and it will be very painful for us to deal with.” However, the diocese does not expect to have to file for bankruptcy, as three other dioceses across the country have done so far (Tucson, AZ; Portland, OR; and Spokane, WA), according to the Washington Post. The claims of abuse in the lawsuit go back at least 40 years and involve 22 priests, none of whom are still working today, the Post reports. Bishop Brown won praise from victims and victim advocates for his determination to resolve the lawsuit quickly. Terrie Light, Northern California director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Finally, some of these people will have some kind of justice. It has been put off for so long.” There are nearly 800 lawsuits pending in California, including 540 against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Sources:

LA Times 12/6/04; Washington Post 12/4/04; San Francisco Chronicle 12/4/04