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Sunday, May 26 News

News Briefs: Archdiocese paid out $50.6M to settle priest sex abuse claims

Archdiocese paid out $50.6M to settle priest sex abuse claims

The Archdiocese of Hartford on Tuesday revealed it paid nearly $51 million to settle sex abuse claims against priests dating to 1953.

The Diocese said no priests currently serving are accused of sexual misconduct as officials released a list of those who had been the subject of “credible” claims of abuse, mostly involving minor children.

“It is a cause of profound sorrow and soul searching for me that we bishops have often failed to grasp the spiritual and moral devastation that results from sexual abuse,” Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said.

Priests included on the list of those accused of misconduct are Felix Maguire, who ministered in West Haven; Robert Ladamus, of Milford, who died in 2012; and Howard J. Nash, who died in 2001.

“We are glad the Archdiocese of Hartford is taking a step toward transparency but it is such a small step after so many decades of abuse,” said Gail Howard, director of the state’s branch of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

“It makes me want to say, ‘thanks, but now I need civil authorities to step forward and respond.’ ” Howard said.

In October, the Bridgeport Diocese announced it paid $52.5 million to settle 156 allegations of sex abuse claims since the early 1950s. The diocese covers 82 Roman Catholic parishes in Fairfield County.

The Hartford Archdiocese, which covers Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven counties, reported it paid $50.6 million to settle 142 claims involving 29 archdiocesan clergy and three priests from other dioceses.

“Since 1953, 36 archdiocesan clergy have been credibly accused, of whom 23 are now deceased,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

“In addition, there have been six religious order priests and six priests from other dioceses who offended within the Archdiocese,” the Archdiocese said.

The Archdiocese said 20 credible claims were made against one priest, and noted that most of the allegations involved abuse of minor children.

—Staff writer Daniel Tepfer contributed to this story. bcummings@ctpost.com

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