Back to Boston.com homepage Arts | Entertainment Boston Globe Online Cars.com BostonWorks Real Estate Boston.com Sports digitalMass Travel The Boston Globe Spotlight Investigation Boston.com Abuse in the Catholic Church
HomePredator priestsScandal and coverupThe victimsThe financial costOpinion
Cardinal Law and the laityThe church's responseThe clergyInvestigations and lawsuits
Interactive2002 scandal overviewParish mapExtrasArchivesDocumentsAbout this site
 Latest coverage

March 11
Victims' lawyer to sue Dupre

March 6
Suit accuses insurer of fraud

March 5
Charges against bishop eyed

March 1
Activists seek sex abuse panel

February 26
Alleged victim to aid probe

February 13
Springfield probe is sought

January 7, 2004
Agents faced reluctant aides

December 3
Church settles with victim

November 15
Settlement fuels money advice

November 12
Claims set aside until 2004

October 30
Hard line set on abuse trials

October 21
Most plaintiffs accept deal

October 19
Therapy sought in abuse suit

October 17
Lawyer says settlement near

October 8
Victims agonize over deal

September 12
Victims seen taking settlement

September 11
Church deal a boon for lawyers

September 10
Church in $85 million accord
Archdiocese facing new strains
Most plaintiffs to accept deal
O'Malley makes an appeal

September 9
Negotiations resume in cases

Earlier stories

Spotlight Report

Contrite Lennon vows settlement is 'first priority'

By Ralph Ranalli and Michael Paulson, Globe Staff, 6/28/2003

Acknowledging victims' pain and promising to ''do everything possible'' to reach a settlement agreement soon, Bishop Richard G. Lennon apologized yesterday to victims of clergy sexual abuse for the church's failure to make an anticipated offer to settle hundreds of civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Boston.

''I am sorry that the resolution is not at hand today,'' Lennon, the interim head of the archdiocese, said in a statement released by the archdiocese. ''I want to again restate my personal pledge to do everything possible to bring the settlement process to a just resolution. I continue to make this my first priority.''

Lennon raised victims' expectations last week when he told reporters at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting in St. Louis that he hoped and believed a settlement offer would be made this week. Those expectations were dashed Thursday, however, when church officials announced that they had been unable to come to a financial agreement with their insurance companies, which are expected to contribute a major portion of any settlement.

''While significant progress has been made over the past few months toward a settlement, I appreciate for victim survivors that the fact that we are not at the conclusion of this process is the source of ongoing suffering and distress,'' Lennon said yesterday. ''This distress is shared by family members of survivors, as well as by the community at large, and by myself.

''I have met with many survivors over the past six months and I have heard firsthand the depth of their suffering. I understand that the lack of resolution of the settlement causes further pain, mistrust, and spiritual alienation for the victims and that it seriously impedes the healing process not only for them and their loved ones, but for the whole church,'' he said.

While calling Lennon's apology a necessary step, advocates for alleged abuse victims said they need more concrete proof of the archdiocese's willingness to resolve the cases.

''People do want an apology, which is great, but people really want a settlement,'' said Ann Hagan Webb, co-coordinator of the New England chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. ''Emotions are so high, and people are anxious, discouraged, and unable to move forward. What they need is some action in good faith, like maybe selling a piece of church property -- an expensive one.''

Lennon's apology came on the day that a 30-day moratorium on litigation, which was designed to facilitate settlement talks, expired. Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to meet with state Superior Court Judge Constance M. Sweeney early next week.

Also yesterday, Lennon announced, in the pages of the archdiocesan newspaper The Pilot, the names of the new members of a review board that will consider allegations of abuse by clergy.

Under the new national child protection policy of the Catholic church, the board must have a majority of members who are lay people not in the employ of the archdiocese and must include at least one priest and one expert on the treatment of minors who are sexually abused. The board functions as a ''confidential consultative body'' to the bishop and does not itself have the power to decide what to do with an allegedly abusive priest.

Members of the review board are Jeffrey Bradley, a Milton social worker; Paul M. Connelly, the executive vice president of Longwood Security Services Inc. of Brookline; Rev. Michael J. Doyle, the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Canton; Judge Mary Fitzpatrick, a retired chief justice of probate and family court; Maureen McGettigan, a psychotherapist; Roselyn Perard, a nurse; Dr. Wilfrid Pilette, a child psychiatrist; Carola Pontone of the Marian Association; and Barbara Suojanen, a nurse.

This story ran on page B1 of the Boston Globe on 6/28/2003.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.


© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Advertise | Contact us | Privacy policy