Bridgeport Diocese Settles Lawsuits Alleging Sexual Abuse

A Roman Catholic Diocese in Connecticut has settled lawsuits by five men who alleged they were sexually abused by four priests when they were boys in the 1970s and 1980s.

Terms of the settlements were not disclosed. Court documents show the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport and the five men reached agreements in mediation. Two lawsuits were withdrawn Monday, and the others were dropped in March and April.

Lawyers in the case and diocese officials did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.

The Connecticut Post reports the five lawsuits were the last remaining of more than three dozen brought against the diocese by a Bridgeport law firm since the early 1990s. The cases involved sexual abuse allegations against 29 priests and resulted in more than $20 million in settlements.

The Diocese of Bridgeport provided NBC Connecticut with the following statement: 

The Diocese of Bridgeport is committed to the healing process for all victims of sexual abuse and was extremely pleased that we were able to successfully mediate these cases to resolution.

Because some of the plaintiffs requested confidentiality, the diocese is not at liberty to discuss the financial terms of the total settlement.

These cases date back over thirty years and were all brought against previously accused priests who are deceased. It is important to note that all those who came forward in these settlement are adults. There are no cases involving current minors.

The diocese was able to cover nearly seventy percent of the settlement amount through historic insurance policy coverage and other defendants including the religious order to which one of the priests belonged.

The diocese has grown closer to victims of clerical sexual abuse over the past three years through the leadership of Bishop Caggiano and the generosity of victims who have formed a committee to plan healing services and support other victims . We've seen their courage, their long-term struggles and their commitment to helping other victims to ensure that it never happens again. We're very grateful to them and for their efforts to reach out to others.

The Diocese continues to reaffirm its commitment to zero tolerance of child abuse, to remove from ministry anyone who has been credibly accused, and to bring healing and support to the victims and their families.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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