An order of Roman Catholic priests reached a tentative settlement last week with nine men and women who say they were abused by a Jesuit priest over a 16-year period, according to an Associated Press news report published in the Daily Breeze newspaper. The deal mediated by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge will reportedly give each of the victims $1.6 million.
The deal was reached Thursday morning after several days of closed-door talks mediated by Judge, Charles McCoy, Rev. Alfred Naucke, a spokesman for the Jesuits of the California Province, told an AP reporter. The news agency reported that it learned through an anonymous source that the settlement was for $14.4 million although that amount was not officially disclosed. The settlement is yet to be signed by all parties.
The money for the victims will not come from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but from the Jesuit order itself and its insurance companies. The accusations involve Mark Falvey, a priest who allegedly abused 10 children during a 16-year period beginning in 1959. Falvey died in 1975, the AP article reported. Falvey was ordained in California, but spent several years in China and returned to Los Angeles in 1959. He then served for 15 years at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hollywood. While at that church, he is accused of abusing children younger than 12 and, in some cases, raping them in the church.
This agreement is the latest in a series of settlements involving Roman Catholic religious orders in California. Last October, the Carmelites agreed to pay $10 million to seven people and in March 2006 Franciscan friars agreed to pay more than $28 million to about two dozen people who claimed they were sexually abused. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles faces more than 500 sexual abuse lawsuits that have been pending for four years. The first of those civil cases goes to court on June 11.
Although the Roman Catholic Church has paid a heavy price for the despicable acts of some of their clergy members, we at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys know very well that they are not the only religious order facing this issue. Clergy abuse can happen anywhere. This is about a respected member of the community, someone to whom people look to for spiritual guidance, turning around and breaking that trust and reverence.
Victims go through hell. They rarely come forward right away. It takes years, sometimes decades, for the accusers to make their voices heard. Our lawyers understand that. We believe that by coming forward and talking to us, you prevent another young person from being abused. If you or someone you know has been a victim of clergy abuse, call us before it’s too late, for a free, confidential consultation at 1-800-259-6373.