BOSTON - In one of the biggest such settlements on record, the Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to pay up to $30 million to 86 people who accused now-defrocked priest John J. Geoghan of child molestation, the plaintiffs' lawyer said yesterday.
"Accepting this money is not going to end the turmoil in their lives," said attorney Mitchell Garabedian. "They are not going to be buying yachts and floating around the Bahamas. There's tremendous pain here."
"This settlement is an important step in reaching closure for these victims who have long endured the damage done to them by John Geoghan," Cardinal Bernard F. Law said in a statement. "They are courageous individuals who deserve and need our full support and prayers." Under the settlement, which was reached Monday night after months of negotiations, the victims and families will receive a total of $15 million to $30 million, according to Garabedian.
The archdiocese already has paid an estimated $15 million to 40 of Geoghan's victims since the mid-1990s, making this one of the costliest sex scandals that the nation's Roman Catholic Church has ever seen.
It was already the biggest scandal to rock the church in terms of the wave of allegations it has set off against priests across the country.
The plaintiffs include 70 alleged victims and 16 parents. The exact amounts that most of the 86 will receive will be determined during the next several months by arbitrators, based on the harm each person suffered.
"I can't feel proud about sitting here," said John Greene, a 42-year-old victim who appeared at a news conference with Garabedian. "I'm embarrassed. This is something I've been living with all my life, and I'm embarrassed. All I was trying to do was help myself. I was just trying to move on in my life."