Brooklyn Diocese to Pay $27.5 Mil 09/19 06:17
NEW YORK (AP) -- Four men who said they were sexually abused as boys by a
teacher at a Catholic church have reached a $27.5 million settlement with the
Diocese of Brooklyn.
The New York Times reports Tuesday that the agreement is one of the largest
settlements ever awarded to sexual abuse victims within the Catholic Church.
The men will each receive about $6.8 million.
The settlement comes just two weeks after the New York attorney general
subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of an
investigation into the handling of sex abuse allegations. A grand jury report
this summer found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300
priests in Pennsylvania.
"These were boys who were abused in second grade through sixth grade, for
years for some of them," said Ben Rubinowitz, one of the lawyers for the
victims. "The egregious nature of the conduct is the reason that the church
paid what they did."
Lawyers for the victims say 67-year-old Angelo Serrano, a lay teacher of
religion at St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Church in Brooklyn, repeatedly abused the
victims between 2003 and 2009. Serrano is serving a 15-year sentence after
pleading guilty in 2011 to inappropriate course of sexual conduct with a child.
"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for these
claimants," the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement. "The Diocese remains
committed to ensuring that its parishes, schools and youth programs remain safe
and secure for the young people who are entrusted to our care."
The statement added that Serrano was a "volunteer worker" at a local parish
and "was not clergy or an employee of the Diocese or parish."
Since June 2017, 414 victims have applied for settlements through the
Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program in Brooklyn. Other dioceses in
the state run similar programs.
The latest settlement comes just two weeks after New York Attorney General
Barbara Underwood subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as
part of an investigation into the handling of sex abuse allegations.