Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Suits

Cases settled for undisclosed amount.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled to civil suits stemming from the priest sex abuse scandal, the Legal Intelligencer reports.

The cases stemmed from incidents in the 1990s. The unidentified plaintiffs say they were abused separately by the Revs. William Ayres and Martin Satchell. “Satchell is believed to reside in North Philadelphia, Monahan said, while Ayres is believed to be living in Guatemala,” the Inquirer reports.

The Intelligencer:

In a statement sent to The Legal, an archdiocese spokesman said, “For some time now, the archdiocese has provided assistance to both men on their paths toward healing, including financial support in the form of payment for ongoing psychological treatment.”

“In order to help all parties move forward, the archdiocese has agreed to these settlements,” the spokesman continued. “Today, the archdiocese reaffirms its ongoing resolve to take all allegations of child sexual abuse seriously and report them to appropriate law enforcement agencies. We deeply regret the pain suffered by any victim of child sexual abuse and have a sincere desire to help survivors on their path to healing.”

Monahan said the settlements were significant for the plaintiffs. “One of the important things for these clients is a sense of empowerment, taking back some of the power they lost when they were children,” Monahan said.

The settlement comes the same week that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reinstated Monsignor William Lynn’s child endangerment conviction for his role in the scandal. And in his Catholic Philly column this week, Archbishop Charles Chaput reflected on National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, saying the church has a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual misconduct, with accusations being directly reported to law enforcement.

“The Philadelphia Catholic community is, and will remain, fully committed to helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their families heal,” Chaput wrote, “no matter who committed the crime against them or when the crime occurred.”