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CURRENT ISSUE:  August 8, 2005VOL. 43, NO. 14Oakland, CA

Settlement nears in abuse cases in Oakland Diocese

As the Voice went to press on Aug. 3, the Oakland Diocese was in the final stages of settlement talks with more than 50 plaintiffs who filed suit for damages in charges of sex abuse against members of the clergy.

The cases are the largest group of some 150 consolidated cases involving Northern California dioceses known as Clergy III, which were under the jurisdiction of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw. Oakland’s cases were later assigned to Judge David Hunter, of the same court, for mandatory settlement talks.

The Oakland Diocese settlements follow agreements reached earlier this year by the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Diocese of Sacramento and the Diocese of Santa Rosa. On June 29, Sacramento officials announced a $35 million settlement for 34 clergy abuse cases, and the same day Santa Rosa agreed to settle eight cases involving three priests for $7.3 million.

San Francisco has reached agreements on about half of its cases involving clergy sexual abuse. In June, the archdiocese agreed to pay $21.5 million to 15 plaintiffs who claimed they were molested by five priests. On July 9, San Francisco settled with 12 people allegedly molested by a San Jose priest during the 1970s for a total of $16 million.

Last January, the Diocese of Orange agreed to pay 90 victims a total of $100 million.

In April, an Alameda County Superior Court jury awarded $1.9 million in damages to two brothers who had charged that they were molested by Robert Ponciroli when he was pastor of St. Ignatius Parish in Antioch two decades ago.

When the Oakland settlements are concluded, the information will be available at: www.catholicvoiceoakland.org





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