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Archbishop Rigali responds to Boston abuse settlements

From September 2003:

Archbishop Justin Rigali responded to the announcement of an $85 million settlement with victims of clergy sexual abuse in the Boston Archdiocese and noted efforts at resolving local cases.

"I am pleased about the news from Boston — that individuals involved in 552 cases have at last the possibility of reaching settlement of their claims of child abuse," Archbishop Rigali said Sept. 10, the morning after the settlements were announced.

He said the St. Louis Archdiocese "has and continues to work individually with all persons with claims of abuse."

"We have a process that mirrors the Dallas Charter," the Archbishop said of the document approved last year by U.S. bishops. "We have recently completed an audit with the Office of Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and have been found to be in compliance with the Charter."

He said that in the St. Louis Archdiocese, "we currently have 18 civil lawsuits and we are actively working toward resolution with about 20 other individuals who have claims of abuse."

Archdiocesan officials have invited all people involved in litigation, through their attorneys, to work with the archdiocese toward settlement. "We have not used and will not use legal defenses to prevent assistance to those in need," the Archbishop said.

"We encourage settlements and resolution, and, like Boston, look forward to moving ahead," said Archbishop Rigali.

Figures on what the archdiocese has spent on sex-abuse claims in the past fiscal year will not be available until the publication of the archdiocesan annual financial report expected in late November, archdiocesan officials said.

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