May 12, 2006

Dallas Diocese to pay $2.5 million to victim

The Dallas Morning News

12:00 AM CDT on Friday, May 12, 2006
By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Catholic Diocese agreed Thursday to pay $2.5 million to a girl who was sexually assaulted six years ago by a parish child-care worker and who still suffers today, her representatives say, from nightmares and self-destructive compulsions.

"She used to be a very giggly little girly girl," said the mother of the girl, who is now a teenager. "Now she doesn't even like to wear dresses. ... Now she'll say, 'Mom, you don't know how bad I want to cut myself.' "

The settlement is the largest to date for victims of Julio A. Marcos, who worked at St. Pius X's child-care center for much of the 1990s. Eight girls have won a total of about $8.1 million in lawsuit settlements, attorneys for both sides confirmed.

Nonetheless, a statement posted on the diocesan newspaper Web site said, "Settlement terms were not specified, but parties said they were consistent" with those in the seven previous deals.

A ninth victim of Mr. Marcos has a suit pending. Additionally, a claim is pending from a victim of Patrick Willhoite, who worked with Mr. Marcos at the child-care center.

Both men have been convicted of sexual abuse and are in prison.

All the lawsuits accuse church employees of ignoring warning signs of abuse. Evidence and pretrial testimony showed that church officials left Mr. Marcos and Mr. Willhoite on duty after receiving warnings that they were behaving inappropriately with girls.

Posted by kshaw at May 12, 2006 07:25 AM