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Miami Diocese Settles Lawsuit

Sep 27, 2003 | South Florida Sun-Sentinel

In an unprecedented decision, the Archdiocese of Miami has reached a $500,000 settlement with the family of a boy who accused a priest of molesting him in a nursing home.

The offer, accepted by the boy's family on Thursday, represents the first settlement of its kind for the archdiocese, which faces more than two dozen similar lawsuits.

Unlike the hundreds of settlements that have been reached between church officials and their accusers nationwide, in this case the boy's family is not bound by the usual confidentiality agreementsthat accompany such agreements.

"It's important that everything is transparent so that the victims know that there's no reason to be afraid or to hide anything," said Herman, who is pursuing 11 other cases of sexual abuse against the Miami Archdiocese. "I don't believe in hush money."

In a statement released Thursday, the Miami Archdiocese said the settlement was not an admission of guilt.

"However, 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," the statement said.

The boy, now 15, said Smith would fondle him and show him pictures of nude people. The boy's mother said he was initially devastated wearing gloves on his hands and saying he was "too dirty" for communion.

The mother said Friday that her sons have decided to discontinue their plans for confirmation and communion "or attending church for that matter."

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