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Washington Diocese Settles Four Sex Abuse Lawsuits For $200,000

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The Catholic Diocese of Yakima in Washington State has paid $200,000 to settle lawsuits brought by four women who accused a now-deceased priest of brutally raping them when they were young girls in the 1960s. According to an article in the Yakima Herald-Republic, the bishop apologized to the women, but the diocese denied liability in the matter.

It’s been the general story line of the Catholic Church sexual abuse saga. Grown men and women melt and are reduced to shameful tears as they recall the nightmarish experiences they’ve been through with these so-called “men of God.” According to the plaintiffs, the diocese did nothing to stop Rev. Michael Simpson, the Irish priest with a drinking problem, who allegedly grabbed the girls and raped them on the desk in his rectory office with hairbrush handles.

The victims apparently lived with the pain and shame for decades. Rose Lamey of Seattle was the first victim to publicly come forward and tell the truth about Simpson’s atrocious conduct. Simpson died in Ireland in 1977 and the diocese has spent about $1.25 million to settle claims involving seven priests.

In this case, each victim would get $50,000 for decades of pain. But the plaintiff’s attorney said that is because of how old the case is and because the priest in question passed away 30 years ago. The legal cost for a lengthy trial was also a factor in this settlement, he told the newspaper.

But the really aggravating fact in this case for everyone involved and affected is that the church did nothing to protect its parishioners. The victims say the church knew Simpson was a chronic alcoholic and had no business being around children. The church and the diocese put these young and impressionable children in a very dangerous situation.

It is very tough for victims of clergy abuse to come forward and often it becomes too late because of the statute of limitations in these cases. Remember, if you are victim, you can help prevent the perpetrator from causing more harm by going after him in court and exposing his behavior. You could literally save other young lives by doing so.

To get emotional help or support, please visit the following Web sites:

Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
The Hope of Survivors

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