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6 NH Victims Settle For $542,500 From Diocese

Dec 20, 2002 | The Union Leader

The Catholic Diocese of Manchester yesterday agreed to a $542,500 civil settlement with six more victims of clergy sexual abuse.

The settlement involved five men and one woman who were abused by five priests from the 1950s to 1978, their attorney, Peter E. Hutchins of Manchester, said.

“Bishop (John) McCormack is pleased that he was able to assist six additional people who recall being harmed by priests many, many years ago,†diocesan spokesman Pat McGee said.

This brings to 84 the total number of men and women who have settled claims against the diocese since October.

The largest amount to be paid in yesterday’s settlement is $275,000 and will go to a female victim, Hutchins said. The lowest was $40,000.

The diocese on Nov. 26 agreed to pay 62 of Hutchins’ clients more than $5 million.

Yesterday’s agreement brings to $5,646,500 the total claims the diocese will pay his clients and raises the median settlement figure to about $50,000, Hutchins said.

In October, the diocese agreed to pay $950,000 to 16 men represented by Concord lawyer Charles G. Douglas III.

Hutchins said the diocese also agreed to pay his clients’ ongoing therapy, Hutchins said.

“The allegations made by the clients were not questioned in any way. Basically, they were settled on an admission of liability of sorts,†Hutchins said.

The diocese reached the settlement in a spirit of “mutual cooperation and respect,†McGee said.

McCormack hopes “to meet with these individuals soon as part of his own ongoing commitment to the healing process of the church of New Hampshire,†he added.

While the victims are free to disclose their identities, the diocese agreed to keep their names confidential.

Hutchins said two victims were abused by the Rev. Donald Osgood, a former priest whom the diocese said “abandoned his ministry.â€

Others were abused by the Revs. Gerald Joyal, Francis McMullen, Thomas Crowe and Paul Vadenboncoeur. All are dead.

Hutchins said he has five more cases to settle. He expects they will be resolved in January.

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