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Settlement Reached In Abuse Case

Man accused priest of molesting him

Apr 17, 2003 | AP

A Manchester man has reached a settlement in his lawsuit against a Roman Catholic priest, claiming he was sexually assaulted over an eight-year period.

Cody Goodwin, 24, had sued the Rev. Francis Talbot, who was sentenced last month to at least 10 years in prison.

Talbot, a former chaplain at the Youth Development Center and at the state prison in Concord, had pleaded guilty to five felony sexual assault counts involving Goodwin.

Talbot was accused of abusing Goodwin as a child when he was sent to Talbot's home to do chores.

The abuse started when Goodwin was 9 and didn't end until he was 15 and strong enough to rebuff the advances, according to the lawsuit.

"It's over," attorney James Connor, who represented Talbot, said Tuesday. Neither he nor the other parties would discuss the terms of the settlement, saying it was confidential.

As part of the settlement, Goodwin is dropping his efforts to rescind an agreement with the Manchester Diocese in a previous lawsuit. The documents Goodwin signed in that case released the church and Talbot of liability and paid Goodwin $200,000.

Goodwin's lawyer, Chuck Douglas, tried to have the agreement dissolved, contending Goodwin was in extreme emotional distress when he signed it. A hearing had been scheduled in the case this week in Hillsborough County Superior Court at which the church's attorney, Bradford Cook, as well as the Rev. Edward Arsenault, chancellor, the Rev. John Quinn and Bishop John McCormack were potential witnesses.

Goodwin, Douglas said, is "very pleased with how it worked out. He's also pleased that Father Talbot's in prison and that he's being held to account for what he did."

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