[JURIST] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence [official website] reached a settlement agreement Friday with four claimants who say they were abused by priests [JURIST news archive] several decades ago and that church officials had taken steps to cover up previous allegations of abuse. Christopher Young, Donald Leighton, Marc G. Banville, and two sisters of a fourth unnamed man who has died, agreed to settle their lawsuits for a total of $1.3 million. Young, Leighton, and Banville filed their claims in 2003 after they failed to reach a settlement with the diocese in 2002, when it settled [NY Times report] the claims of 36 others who said they were victims of molestation for $13.5 million. The men alleged that they were abused by three different priests on different occasions from the 1970's through the 1980's. The Bishop of Providence, Thomas Tobin [official profile], and diocese officials deny any misconduct in connection with the settlement. AP has more. The Providence Journal has local coverage.
Other dioceses across the country have reached similar settlements. In September 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh [diocesan website] announced [JURIST report] the creation of a $1.25 million fund and the Catholic Diocese of San Diego [diocesan website] announced an agreement [JURIST report] to pay $198.1 million to settle claims of sexual abuse by their clergy. A Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2007 approved a $660 million settlement [JURIST report] between the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles [diocesan website] and plaintiffs in 508 outstanding clergy sex abuse lawsuits. In January 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane [diocesan website] agreed to settle molestation claims [JURIST report] against its own priests for $48 million as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan.