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Record abuse settlement

WASHINGTON (CNS): Less than six weeks after becoming head of Boston archdiocese, Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley has reached the largest financial settlement in US Church history with hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by Boston priests.

“This is an important agreement … I hope that all the victims will choose to participate,” said Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Illinois, who is president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The settlement – for up to $A127 million covering 552 lawsuits – came at the end of several days of intense negotiations in Boston between lawyers for both sides in which the archbishop personally participated.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys said the credibility of Archbishop O’Malley, who said the $A127 million offer “maxed out” the archdiocese’s financial resources, played a major role in bringing the parties to an agreement.

Archbishop O’Malley said he felt he needed to get involved to reach a speedy settlement.

The Boston settlement surpassed the $A46 million that victims of ex-priest Rudy Kos received from Dallas diocese in 1998 and the $A37 million the Archdiocese of Louisville recently agreed to pay to settle 243 lawsuits.

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