Bishop 'Sorry' for Delay

By Tom Mashberg
Boston Herald
June 28, 2003

Bishop Richard G. Lennon, temporary chief of the Archdiocese of Boston, apologized yesterday to clergy abuse plaintiffs for not having a settlement offer ready at the end of a 30-day litigation halt in the church's molestation scandal.

"I understand that the lack of resolution of the settlement causes further pain, mistrust and spiritual alienation for the victims and seriously impedes the healing process not only for them and their loved ones, but for the whole church," Lennon said in a statement.

Yesterday marked the end of the third "moratorium" in the legal proceedings between the archdiocese and lawyers for 500 men and women suing the Catholic Church for alleged sexual crimes by priests.

More than a dozen civil lawyers had agreed to cease their depositions of clergy and the filing of discovery motions while archdiocesan attorneys and advisers met with two main church insurance carriers - Kemper and Travelers - to hammer out a financial deal.

Sources familiar with church legal maneuverings say archdiocese lawyers have yet to meet with Travelers officials.

The church cannot make a realistic financial offer, the sources say, until both insurers are polled.

"I am sorry that the resolution is not at hand today," said Lennon, who was named apostolic administrator after Bernard Cardinal Law resigned as archbishop last year.

"I want to again restate my personal pledge to do everything possible to bring the settlement process to a just resolution. I continue to make this my first priority."

In St. Louis last week for a meeting of fellow U.S. bishops, Lennon told the Herald and other media he hoped to offer a cash settlement by the moratorium's Friday deadline.

Plaintiffs' lawyers say they are ready to resume litigating Monday.

Also Monday, Patrick McSorley, a victim of ex-Rev. John Geoghan, will meet reporters. He was released from a hospital Wednesday after nearly drowning last week.


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