February 16, 2005

Men Who Accused Priests of Abuse Settle Lawsuit

The New York Times


Published: February 16, 2005

MORRISTOWN, N.J., Feb. 15 - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson has agreed to pay approximately $5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by 27 men who said they were abused by five priests and a deacon, including one priest who admitted molesting numerous boys, a lawyer announced on Tuesday.

The settlement, which is believed to be the largest in a sex abuse case by a Roman Catholic diocese in New Jersey, concludes a year-old lawsuit that was brought by the 27 men and 6 of their wives, said Gregory Gianforcaro, the lawyer who represented 26 of the men. The lawsuit drew widespread publicity, particularly because it included allegations by at least 19 of the men that they had been abused by one former priest, James T. Hanley. The case was unusual in that Mr. Hanley helped it by providing a sworn statement about how he had committed numerous acts of sexual abuse against children.

Mr. Gianforcaro announced the settlement at a news conference in front of the Morris County Courthouse, which was also attended by several of his clients. "There are no winners in this settlement," he said. "All the money in the world is not going to bring back their innocence, their ability to trust, their ability to deal with their spouses."

The settlement, which did not include any admission of wrongdoing by the diocese, was confirmed in a statement by Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli of Paterson.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 04:14 AM