January 07, 2006

Mahony Abuse-Settlement Effort Derided

Los Angeles Times

By Jean Guccione, Times Staff Writer

Critics assailed Cardinal Roger M. Mahony on Friday for trying to settle only a small percentage of the hundreds of sex-abuse legal cases filed against the Los Angeles Archdiocese and questioned why he waited to negotiate seriously until the eve of trial for an accused priest.

"I think it's another media stunt," said Steven Sanchez, a Glendale resident who said he was molested as a teen by the late Father Clinton Hagenbach.

The Times reported Friday that Mahony and lawyers for 45 alleged victims of abuse, after three years of desultory negotiations, are moving toward a settlement that would pay an average of at least $1 million per claim. The settlement, if approved, would involve less than 10% of the more than 560 cases filed against the archdiocese, and would come almost entirely out of the archdiocese's coffers.

Mahony's lawyer said the roughly four dozen cases were selected for settlement because they are largely not covered by the church's insurers, which the archdiocese blames for stalling negotiations to resolve the bulk of the claims. Insurers have said the archdiocese forfeited its coverage by covering up the sexual misdeeds of its priests.

Posted by kshaw at January 7, 2006 08:44 AM