CALIFORNIA Saturday, December 4, 2004
Priest abuse payout tops Boston record
Big settlement could influence Bay Area claims
A record settlement of child sexual abuse claimsagainst the Catholic Church in Southern California could set the stagefor a series of mega-payouts in the Bay Area and across the state.
On Friday, attorneys familiar with theDiocese of Orange negotiations confirmed reports that the settlement of87 claims in that county would exceed the $85 million paid out to abusevictims last year in Boston -- the previous record for a jointsettlement. The Associated Press reported the settlement was worth $100million.
In Northern California, pretrial motionsin some 150 abuse suits against dioceses across the region are beingheard in Oakland by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw.
Attorney Steve McFeely, who representsthe Diocese of Oakland in the Northern California cases, said the newsfrom Orange County "at least indicates that these cases can besettled.''
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