March 15, 2006

Friars to settle abuse claims

Whittier Daily News

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Franciscan friars have reached a preliminary settlement of more than $28 million with about two dozen people who claimed they were sexually abused at a now-defunct Santa Barbara seminary and mission, officials said Monday.

Attorney Raymond Boucher, who represents eight of the plaintiffs, said the average payment would be about $1.27 million. The figure was confirmed by the friars. "Under the circumstances, I think this was a very fair settlement," Boucher said. "Some will get significantly more, some will get significantly less, depending on their facts and circumstances." Attorney Tim Hale, who represents 13 of the plaintiffs, said the tentative pact is similar to a 2004 agreement in which the Diocese of Orange settled 90 abuse claims for $100 million and released documents involving the predatory priests. "In making this settlement, we friars are trying to do the right thing and help bring about healing," the Rev. Melvin A. Jurisich, provincial minister for the Franciscan Friars, Province of Saint Barbara, said in a statement.

Posted by kshaw at March 15, 2006 08:06 AM