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Diocese in Portland, Maine, settles sex abuse suit for $1.2 million

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, has settled a lawsuit by six men who said church leaders concealed sex abuse allegations against a former priest.

The victims settled for $1.2 million. Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian said Monday that the men were childhood victims of the Rev. James Vallely decades ago.

The lawsuits were filed in November by men from Maine, New Hampshire and New York.

The Boston Globe reported the men accused the diocese of covering up abuse by Vallely. They alleged Vallely sexually abused them as children from 1958 to 1977.

Garabedian, who has represented dozens of sex abuse victims, has said the Portland diocese had knowledge of multiple accusations but didn’t remove Vallely from ministry.

Garabedian said church leaders could have removed Vallely from ministry but instead chose to transfer him to another parish “where children were placed at risk of further sexual abuse by a serial pedophile priest.”

Vallely died in 1997.

A spokesman for the Portland diocese said in a statement that it hopes the settlement “brings a measure of peace to the people involved,” though it will not address the charges directly.

“The diocese respects the privacy and confidentiality of the victims/survivors involved in cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics,” spokesman Dave Guthro said in the statement.

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