January 27, 2005

Gauging the Price of Pain

Los Angeles Times

By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer

CINCINNATI For four months, attorney Matt Garretson has immersed himself in halting accounts of rape and crude seduction, frenzied groping, terror and shame. He has come to understand the pain of sexual abuse.

Now, he must put a price on it.

Garretson administers a fund set up by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to compensate victims of clergy abuse. In the next few weeks, he will divide $3 million among the 132 men and women who have trusted him with their anguish.

The 16-year-old molested by his Catholic school principal in a gym shower how much is he due? He quit playing ball after the assault, giving up his shot at a college scholarship. His mother urged him to Mass, but he found he could not pray. How to value his loss?

And what of the 13-year-old fondled by a priest who had taken him in for counseling? The priest called it God's will. The boy, swamped with shame, slumped into addiction, obesity and depression that lasted decades. How much for him?

Posted by kshaw at January 27, 2005 08:16 PM