January 30, 2009 in City

Settlement reached in Seattle orphanage abuse

Seattle archdiocese to pay $14.2 million
By GENE JOHNSON Associated Press

SEATTLE – The Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle and a New York-based Catholic order have agreed to pay $14.2 million to two dozen men who were sexually abused at an orphanage in the 1950s and ’60s.

The men attended the Briscoe Memorial School for Boys, an orphanage owned by the archdiocese and run by the Christian Brothers order in Kent, a Seattle suburb. Of the $14.2 million, the order is paying more than $8 million, and the archdiocese is paying nearly $4 million. An insurance company that insured both entities is paying more than $2 million.

“Finally, after 40 years, it means there is an acknowledgment on the part of these two Catholic entities that these children were hurt,” said Michael Pfau, a lawyer for the victims. “Because the abuse occurred at an orphanage, a lot of them felt forgotten. There’s a sense of justice and closure.”

Thursday’s announcement involved two settlements – one for victims who attended the school in the 1950s, reached in November for $7.2 million, and one for victims in the ’60s, reached this week for $7 million.

“In every case involving sexual abuse we hope our efforts to reach a fair and just settlement will help the victims begin the process of healing,” said archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni.

The Briscoe school was closed in the 1970s. The accused priests and brothers have died or have been removed from ministry or defrocked.

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