ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SETTLES 19 PENDING SEXUAL ABUSE CASES IN SAN FRANCISCO AND SEATTLE FOR $22.9 MILLION

Still plagued by scores of sexual abuse cases and the negative publicity they generate, the Roman Catholic Church has settled 15 cases in the Archdiocese of San Francisco for $21.2 million and 4 cases in the Archdiocese of Seattle for $1.7 million.

The San Francisco Archdiocese had approximately 55 cases in mediation before retired judge Coleman Fannin and several other cases that had proceeded to trial. The 15 settlements (11 men and 4 women now in their 40s) included 10 claims against Rev. Joseph Pritchard, a San Jose priest who died in 1988. The Archdiocese will pay $6.6 million of the settlement with $14.6 million coming from available insurance coverage.

Other priests named in the San Francisco actions were Rev. Leonel Noia, Rev. Arthur Harrison, and Rev. Gregory Ingels. Although Archbishop William Levada stated the Archdiocese hoped "the settlement of these cases will facilitate the process of healing for these victims," plaintiffsí attorney, Robert Mezzetti, Jr., credited Judge Fannin, the court-appointed mediator, with bringing about the settlement. Confidentiality agreements prevent the disclosure of how much of the settlement each of the plaintiffs will receive.

In Seattle, the Archdiocese there has already settled almost 200 sexual abuse cases. The latest four settlements involved two priests. Sadly, one of the plaintiffs, Jeff Alfieri, committed suicide in the parking lot of Holy Family Catholic Church in 2003. His estate is to receive $600,000 of the $1.7 million.

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