St. Louis Discloses Abuse Settlements

Associated Press/March 23, 2002

St. Louis -- The Archdiocese of St. Louis said it had paid about $1.6 million over the past 20 years to people who claim they were molested by Roman Catholic priests.

"The rationale is to assist people who have brought complaints,'' Bernard C. Huger, a lawyer for the archdiocese, said in Saturday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "In some cases, settlements were made even if the claim was considered not to be substantiated.''

Church officials said most of the claims were substantiated. Church officials refused to say how many cases were settled.

The figure released by the Archdiocese of St. Louis is small compared to recent settlements in other cities.

The Archdiocese of Boston earlier this month agreed to pay up to $30 million to 86 people who accused former priest John Geoghan of child molestation. The archdiocese already had paid an estimated $15 million to 40 of alleged victims of Geoghan, who was convicted in January of indecent assault on a 10-year-old boy.

In Dallas, nine altar boys who said they were molested by former priest Rudolph Kos received $23.4 million in 1998. In New Mexico, the archdiocese paid an estimated $50 million to settle about 45 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by former priest Jason Sigler.

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