Brockton -- Lawyers for hundreds of alleged victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests have made a counter-proposal to the Boston Archdiocese's offer to settle 542 lawsuits for $US55million ($A83million).
The victims' lawyers would not reveal how much money they were seeking or how far apart the two sides were.
But several lawyers said negotiations were moving at a feverish pace.
The counter-proposal, made 10 days after the archdiocese announced its offer, came during a three-hour meeting between lawyers for the alleged victims and lead archdiocesan lawyer Thomas Hannigan Jr at a mediator's office.
Alan Cantor, a lawyer who represents seven alleged victims, said, "We're very hopeful of actually getting this done over a period of days, not weeks or months."
The settlement would resolve lawsuits filed by men and women who said they were abused as children by about 140 clergy while leaders of the archdiocese routinely shuffled the priests from parish to parish rather than remove them from ministry.
Although some of the alleged victims have praised newly installed Archbishop Sean O'Malley for seeking to settle the cases, many have said the church's offer is too small, given the scope of the abuse and the number of victims.
The archdiocese's proposal represents the largest offer to settle allegations of clergy abuse since the scandal broke in early 2002.