LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
will settle hundreds of clergy abuse lawsuits for at least $600 million.
The Associated Press Saturday says the archdiocese and its insurers will pay between 600 and 650 million dollars to about 500 people who claimed they were molested by priests.
The settlement also calls for the church to release confidential personnel files on priests to lawyers representing alleged victims
of clergy abuse.
A judge must sign off on the settlement and final details are still being ironed out. An attorney for the plaintiffs says negotiations will continue through the weekend.
Two sources who requested anonymity told the A.P. that the deal will be announced on Monday. That's when jury selection is to start in several cases.
It's the largest single payout in the church's ongoing clergy sex scandal - but not the first.
The L.A. archdiocese announced last December that it would pay $60
million dollars to settle 45 lawsuits.
Three years ago, the Diocese of Orange paid $100 million to settle 90 claims, and last year a Kentucky diocese agreed to settle hundreds of cases for $84 million dollars. The Diocese of Boston agreed to pay a similar amount in 2003.
In total, sex scandals have cost U-S Roman Catholic churches at
least $2.1 billion.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.