Seattle Archdiocese Pays $3 Million In Priest Abuse Settlements
The Seattle Archdiocese will pay $3 million to settle five sex abuse claims. The allegations detail abuse by several clergy members and a diocesan employee.
In December 2021, the Archdiocese of Seattle finalized five church abuse settlements with survivors. According to the survivors’ allegations, the incidents of sexual abuse occurred in the 1960s and the 1970s. The five settlements paid by the archdiocese total more than $3 million.
These settlements are five of nearly 250 abuse settlements paid by the Archdiocese of Seattle since 2006.
Archdiocese Settles 5 Sexual Abuse Claims
On December 10, 2021, the Archdiocese of Seattle announced five abuse settlements totaling $3,035,000. Two of the five claims involved abuse by a diocesan priest, Father Thomas Pitsch.
Two of the abuse claims name members of the Christian Brothers of Ireland, a Catholic religious order. The alleged abuse in both claims occurred in the early 1960s.
One claim settled by the archdiocese accuses several Christian Brothers of abuse at the Briscoe Memorial School. Brother C.P. Ryan and Brother Albert Casale were among those accused of abuse.
One claim settled by the archdiocese names Christian Brother Gerald Kealy. According to the claim, Kealy abused a victim at O’Dea High School in Seattle.
Ryan, Casale and Kealy were named on the archdiocese’s original list of accused clergy members published in 2016.
The last abuse claim settled by the Archdiocese of Seattle involved abuse by a playground supervisor at St. Louise Parish School.
Archdiocese Settles Catholic School Abuse Claim
In December 2021, the Archdiocese of Seattle agreed to pay $725,000 to an abuse survivor. This settlement resolves a church abuse lawsuit filed by a Washington woman.
According to the survivor, an unidentified playground supervisor groomed and sexually assaulted her at school. The alleged abuse happened more than 40 years ago, in 1977. The survivor was eight years old at the time of the sexual abuse. She was a third-grader attending the St. Louise Parish School. This school is a private Catholic school within the Archdiocese of Seattle.
According to the lawsuit, the survivor’s abuse was “foreseeable and preventable had Seattle Archdiocese acted on John Doe’s grooming behavior and removed him for his repeated sexual misconduct.”
Priest Abuse Victims Seek Justice Nationwide
Since 2006, the Archdiocese of Seattle has settled nearly 250 claims made by “victims sexually abused by clergy or employees who served or worked in the archdiocese dating back decades.” Like many Catholic dioceses across the country, the archdiocese has settled these claims in an order to avoid litigation.
For some survivors, a settlement or compensation fund payout is an ideal option. These forms of compensation allow survivors to avoid filing a lawsuit, which may feel overwhelming to some victims.
However, many survivors have found justice through litigation. An experienced clergy abuse lawyer can help you determine the right path forward.
“The church would be the very last option, to me. Make sure you explore all of your options with an attorney first.”
Archdiocese of Seattle. (December 2021). Archdiocese of Seattle Settles Five Claims from the 1960s, ’70s and Early ’80s [Press Release].
Kamb, L. (2021, December 9). Seattle archdiocese settles woman’s sexual abuse lawsuit for $725,000. The Seattle Times.
(2021, December 10). Seattle Catholic archdiocese settles sexual abuse claim. The Associated Press.