March 24, 2006

Diocese ordered to pay $1.7 million in damages to man abused in 1970s

Beaver County Times

By: Joe Mandak - Associated Press Writer

PITTSBURGH - The Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese must pay $1.7 million in punitive damages to a man abused by a priest in the 1970s because the former bishop's oversight of pedophile priests was "outrageous," an appeals court ruled.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling ends the appellate court's third review of a 1994 verdict that awarded Michael S. Hutchison Jr. $519,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. With interest, the punitive damages now total about $1.7 million.

Hutchison's attorney, Richard Serbin, said documents detailing former Bishop James Hogan's mismanagement of other pedophile priests were the key to the decision.

In one instance, Hogan transferred a priest to a convent, but learned from the sisters there that the priest was still bringing children to his sleeping quarters.

Posted by kshaw at March 24, 2006 07:06 AM