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Diocese Pays $4.2 Million To Sex Abuse Victims

Feb 9, 2004 | AP

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando has paid $4.2 million to three dozen victims who accused 12 priests of sexual misconduct with children over a 35-year period.

A letter from Bishop Norbert Dorsey published in the Feb. 5 edition of The Florida Catholic says all of the money was paid by the diocese's insurance to cover claims of abuse between 1968 and 2002.

Dorsey said the largest settlements, totaling $3,408,913, were paid in 1985 and that all 12 priests were removed from the ministry.

The public revelation is part of a national survey to be released Feb. 27. The survey was commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to determine the extent of sexual abuse within the church between 1950 and 2002.

In his letter, the bishop warned that the national results of the survey "could be difficult to hear and absorb."

Participation in the national study is voluntary, and almost all of the nation's 195 dioceses have submitted information to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is conducting the study.

David Clohessy, national president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, views the report skeptically.

"These are self-reported numbers from the very same men who got us into this mess in the first place," Clohessy said. "We should resist the temptation to consider these numbers accurate or definitive."

PRIEST ADMITS MISCONDUCT

NAPLES A former priest facing three sex abuse lawsuits has acknowledged sexual misconduct with a troubled teen in Port St. Lucie, according to court documents.

In a rambling, seven-page narrative filed late last year in response to one of the suits, William Romero wrote he had "a half dozen" sexual encounters with one of three siblings he met while assigned to St. Christopher's Parish in Hobe Sound, a town on the Palm Beach-Martin County border.

Romero said the relationship with the teen lasted 10 years. He said it began soon after he was transferred in 1982 to St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Moore Haven, a farming town on the banks of Lake Okeechobee.


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