May 10, 2005

Diocese of Scranton agrees to settle sex abuse lawsuit

The Citizens Voice

By Chris Birk, Staff Writer 05/10/2005

The Diocese of Scranton will pay more than half of a $380,000 settlement to end a sexual abuse lawsuit brought by a former St. Gregory's Academy student, and Bishop Joseph F. Martino will offer a personal apology, according to attorneys for the parties.

The bishop's gesture, while not a written stipulation of the settlement, stands as "a factor in the overall resolution of the claim," said Carbondale Attorney Harry T. Coleman, who alongside Washington-state Attorney James Bendell represented the young man who filed suit against two Society of St. John priests.

In the March 2002 civil suit, the young man, identified as John Doe, accused the Revs. Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey of molestation, beginning on his 17th birthday in May 1998. John Doe, now in his early 20s, lives in North Carolina.

"They're happy to bring this to an end, to have Bishop Martino make that gesture of good will was extremely well received by them," Coleman said of Doe's family, adding that the diocese volunteered to offer an apology. "To this family, who are devout Catholics, that is more important than any monetary amount."

Whether Bishop Martino would travel to North Carolina remained undetermined Friday.

Posted by kshaw at May 10, 2005 05:21 AM