Case that Sparked Priest Sex Abuse Scandal Reaches Tentative Settlement

After backing out of a proposed $30 million settlement with the victims of defrocked priest John J. Geoghan, the Boston Archdiocese has reached a tentative agreement to pay $10 million to 86 alleged abuse victims. Geoghan has allegedly molested more than 130 children since the 1980s and is currently serving a sentence of nine to 12 years in state prison for indecent assault on a minor.

Criticism of the Catholic Church erupted when it was discovered that several Boston cardinals, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law, transferred Geoghan from parish to parish instead of turning him over to authorities even after he was accused of child abuse in three different parishes. Law himself is facing 300 potential suits by victims of sexual abuse and 20 priests for covering up pedophilia by Boston priests, according to the New York Times.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit against another Boston priest, Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, which forced him to vacate his church living quarters and go on administrative leave, has been dropped after the alleged victim, Paul Edwards, was found to have many inconsistencies in the details of his abuse and was said to have a penchant for making up stories about his life, according to the Times. Nineteen Boston priests have been removed from ministry this year on charges of child sexual abuse, according to the Times. Edwards’s lawsuit is the first to be withdrawn since the scandal was brought to light in January, the Times reports.


New York Times 9/4/02; Dallas Morning News 6/12/02; Feminist Daily News Wire 1/15/02, 2/22/02, 8/9/02

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