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Diocese Settles Lawsuit In Abuse Case

Jul 21, 2004 | AP

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield says it has settled a lawsuit brought by eight men who were sexually abused by a former priest in the 1970s.

A diocese spokeswoman says the men will share one-point-two (m) million dollars.

Five of the men filed suit against the diocese in Madison County in September 2003. The lawsuit alleged abuse by former priest Walter Weerts between 1973 and 1980. Weerts was pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Villa Grove. Three other men were added during the mediation process.

Weerts pleaded guilty in 1986 to three counts of sexual abuse in a case brought against him in Adams County. He served six years in prison and was removed from the priesthood in March 1989.

The lawsuit was settled early this month.

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