October 27, 2007 in City

Seattle Archdiocese settles two abuse claims

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

EVERETT, Wash. – Two people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic priests in the 1950s have settled their lawsuits with the Archdiocese of Seattle for a total of $380,000.

The first settlement involved an Everett-born man, identified in the lawsuit as M.P. to protect his privacy, who said he was abused by the Rev. Edward Boyle at Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett for 11 years, starting in 1956 when he was 14. Boyle is now dead.

M.P., who still lives in Western Washington, settled for $270,000, said Mary Fleck, the Seattle attorney who handled both cases.

The second lawsuit was filed in King County by a man identified as J.P., who now lives in central Washington, Fleck said.

It focused on alleged abuse by the Rev. James Knellekan, also deceased, at St. Catherine’s Parish in Seattle.

J.P. settled for $110,000, Fleck said.

There are still about a dozen child sexual abuse lawsuits pending against the archdiocese, spokesman Greg Magnoni said.

“We seek to reach settlement with victims in all cases of clergy abuse, hoping this settlement brings some measure of closure and helps bring healing for the victims involved,” Magnoni said.

In all such cases, Archbishop Alex Burnett invites abuse victims to meet with him so he can extend a personal apology, Magnoni said.

Fleck said an out-of-court settlement is really in the best interest of all the parties.

“It takes a lot of courage for people to come forward and tell their stories about what happened to them,” Fleck said. “At the same time, they realize it will help other people if their stories are told.”

The lawsuit filed in Snohomish County alleged that the archdiocese knew Boyle was a pedophile and failed to supervise the priest.

In the 2005 lawsuit, Fleck alleged that M.P. suffered serious psychological effects as a result of his contact with Boyle, and he’s only recently begun to realize the origin of his problems.

The Archdiocese of Seattle covers all of Western Washington, including 169 parishes and nearly 550,000 Catholics.

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