April 16, 2006

Diocese settles lawsuit tied to abuse case

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Saturday, April 15, 2006
James F. McCarty
Plain Dealer Reporter
The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland will pay a substantial settlement and apologize to a sex-abuse victim and his parents under terms of a tentative agreement reached this week in a defamation lawsuit.

Christopher Kodger, 39, of Homer, Alaska, who joined his parents in the suit filed against the diocese in 2003, was prepared to return to Ohio for a trial April 24 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

But he said Thurs day that a trial will be unnecessary after dioc esan officials agreed to compensate the Kodg ers with a significant award - believed to be about $500,000 - after Bishop Anthony Pilla writes a letter of apology for a potentially libelous statement.

"They can tell the truth on the witness stand or they can apologize," Kodger said in a telephone interview. "Either way they pay."

An attorney for the diocese did not return a call seeking comment.

Diocesan spokesman Bob Tayek said settlement discussions had been held, but he declined to say if an agreement had been reached.

Posted by kshaw at April 16, 2006 07:17 AM