L.A. Archdiocese Agrees To $10 Million Settlement Over Abuse Claims

Mar 12, 2013

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay $9.9 million to four men who allege they were abused by former priest Michael Baker, the men's attorney tells the AP.

The Los Angeles Times reports the settlement stems from what Cardinal Roger Mahony, who is in Rome helping elect the next pope, called "the most troubling case of his tenure."

The paper adds:

"The settlement is the first since the church released 12,000 pages of internal personnel files about its handling of abuse allegations, including scores of documents detailing how Mahony and a top aide dealt with Baker.

"The priest admitted his abuse of two boys directly to Mahony during a 1986 retreat. Mahony sent him to New Mexico for treatment, but later returned him to ministry where he molested again. He was convicted in 2007."

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Update at 6:44 p.m. ET. Begin To Heal:

NPR's Kirk Siegler spoke to Vince Finaldi, the attorney for the plaintiffs. He said that Mahoney and the archdiocese should have called police.

"They chose to send him to a religious treatment center for a number of months, and then they put him back in the ministry and that's where he came into contact with our clients," Finaldi said.

He added that the settlement will help his four clients pay for counseling and begin to heal.

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