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Miami Archdiocese Settles Abuse Case

Sep 26, 2003 | AP

The Miami Archdiocese has paid its first settlement in more than two dozen local molestation lawsuits filed since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal broke last year.

The church paid $500,000 to resolve the case of a teen who accused a priest of molesting him at a nursing home.

The boy, who was 11 at the time, accused the Rev. Trevor Smith of fondling him four years ago during visits to the boy's ailing grandmother at the Villa Maria Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Miami.

Smith has denied the allegations. Church officials, in a statement, admitted no negligence in the case.

"Based on the advice of our legal counsel and factoring in the cost of protracted litigation, the archdiocese decided to resolve this matter without further litigation," according to the statement.

The case was the first involving the Miami archdiocese to be settled without a confidentiality agreement that had kept previous cases out of court and the public record.

"The openness is important for the victims because they're standing up not only for themselves but on behalf of other victims, too," said the boy's attorney, Jeffrey Herman.

Smith, 66, retired in April 2002 after serving in various South Florida parishes and Catholic nursing homes

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