As Catholics around the world rejoice over the selection of a new Pope, a nearly $10 million s*x abuse stain still covers the church's reputation. The L.A. Archdiocese will pay the aforementioned hefty fee, to four men who claim to have been abused by a priest.
The payment is the first since the January release of a 12,000-page internal report on the abuse.
From the Los Angeles Times:
A lawyer for the alleged victims said he believed the file release "played heavily" into the archdiocese's decision to settle the case regarding four lawsuits against the archdiocese involving Michael Baker, a parish priest accused of mol*sting at least 23 boys over three decades.
The church has settled numerous cases brought by Baker's alleged victims in the past.
Many of the documents detailed Cardinal Roger Mahony's dealings with Baker. The priest admitted his abuse of two boys to the then-archbishop during a 1986 retreat. Mahony sent Baker to a New Mexico treatment center but later returned him to the ministry, and Baker mol*sted again.
In 2007, he was convicted of abusing two boys and sent to prison. Two of the civil cases settled were set for trial next month. Vince Finaldi, a lawyer for the alleged victims, said he believed the file release "played heavily" into the archdiocese's decision to settle the cases.
"Once we got the files, it confirmed everything we had argued for years and years," Finaldi said. "Cardinal Mahony's fingerprints were all over the case."
J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the archdiocese confirmed that a settlement has been reached. “We accepted responsibility for all of Michael Baker's misconduct, and the issue with respect to these cases was trying to find an acceptable number to resolve the cases,” Hennigan said.
Baker has yet to release a statement.
He is accused of abusing boys since the 1970s, and pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2007, but was released from custody in 2011 for time served.
Photo: Gabriel Buoys