The Los Angeles Archdiocese has ended a decade of priest molestation claims by agreeing to a $13 million settlement with 17 alleged abuse victims.
The last of the pending lawsuits against the archdiocese was settled the day before the case brought by alleged victims of Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera was due to be heard in court last week, according to the Los Angeles Times
The priest was visiting the archdiocese from Mexico when he allegedly molested more than two dozen boys in 1987.
Eleven men, who were ages 7 to 12 when they were allegedly assaulted, were due to testify that Cardinal Roger Mahony had conspired with his top aide, Monsignor. Thomas Curry, to help the cleric flee from the police shortly before authorities were notified.
The alleged victims will receive about $1 million each, while smaller amounts will be paid to six men who claim they were abused by other priests, according to the Times.
"We think all of these cases are now behind us," J. Michael Hennigan, the archdiocese attorney, told the newspaper.
The archdiocese paid $740 million to more than 500 victims, a far greater sum than in other archdioceses, since 2002 when the priest molestation scandal broke across the nation.
The archdiocese was forced to sell real estate, take out a $175 million loan, and use $115 million set aside for cemetery maintenance to pay the lawsuits, the Times said.
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