The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has extended a financial settlement proposal to a second wave of victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, offering far smaller monetary awards than the first settlement in 2003 and establishing a more rigorous burden of proof for accusers.
The proposed settlement would allot $7.5 million to address the claims of about 100 people who were abused, and the average award would be $75,000. Typically, one-third to 40 percent of an award goes to lawyers’ fees, said victims’ rights advocates and lawyers. In a settlement with 541 victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy and the laity in September 2003, the archdiocese paid a total of about $84 million, or an average award of $155,000.
Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., the lawyer for the Boston archdiocese, said the straitened finances of the archdiocese necessitated a smaller settlement and greater scrutiny of the claims. “Given our present financial condition,” he explained, “we are asking for more rigor to the process to make sure that the people we’re compensating are victims of abuse by Boston priests.”