March 17, 2005

Mediation talks adjourn in clergy sex abuse case

Sacramento Bee

By Jennifer Garza
Published 2:15 am PST Thursday, March 17, 2005

SACRAMENTO - Mediation temporarily ended Wednesday between the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and attorneys for the 33 people who say they were sexually abused by clergy.

The settlement talks will resume May 4.

Both sides say a recess is typical at this stage of the mediation process so attorneys can evaluate proposals.

"Both sides need to talk to clients and come back prepared to talk some more," says Kevin Eckery, spokesperson for the diocese.

Joseph George, who is representing the plaintiffs in the settlement talks, agreed. "It's a complicated process that takes time."

Mediation in other dioceses has lasted for months. Some of the Sacramento cases may be settled while others head to a June 27 court date.

Most of the claims of clergy sexual abuse involve incidents that allegedly occurred decades ago. Sixteen of these cases are allegations against Mario Blanco, a priest who served at several Spanish-speaking parishes in the diocese in the early 1970s.

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2005 07:25 AM