29 Oct 2010

Final plaintiff in abuse trial against the Archdiocese of Seattle agrees to settlement

The News Tribune - Tacoma May 21, 2009

Archdiocese to pay abuse victim settlement: Man molested as a teen will receive $700,000

by TIM KLASS | The Associated Press

SEATTLE – The remaining plaintiff in a priest sex abuse trial against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle agreed to settle his case after jurors raised questions and the diocese put a deadline on a settlement offer, attorneys said Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Auburn man accepted $700,000 with no additional provision for attorney fees Tuesday evening, hours after he testified tearfully about how he was abused by former priest Patrick G. O’Donnell, said his lawyer, Timothy D. Kosnoff, and the attorney for the archdiocese, Michael A. Patterson.

“It was very cathartic for him,” Kosnoff said. “I think that he felt he’d accomplished his mission.”

Patterson said the amount was the same that had been offered three months before the trial began earlier this month in King County Superior Court.

After the man testified, four jurors told the judge they had questions about why, after he had been abused by O’Donnell in Seattle, he twice accepted invitations by the priest to visit him in Spokane, ostensibly to go boating on a nearby lake where he was molested more severely.

The man testified that his mother, ignorant of the abuse, welcomed the invitations. His therapist testified that such behavior is common among young sex abuse victims, especially when no one else knows of the abuse.

Even so, “it was evident that several jurors were bothered by that, and we had to take that into account,” Kosnoff said.

Patterson said he told the plaintiff’s lawyers the settlement offer would expire at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Kosnoff said his client agreed to settle about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Combined with earlier settlements with the Spokane Diocese, where O’Donnell first began abusing children, and a religious order that operated the seminary where O’Donnell was trained as a priest, the man is receiving about $1.3 million, his lawyer said.

A second plaintiff in the trial settled Monday for about $550,000. Two others settled before the trial began.

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