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Frank Zamorro holds a placard with a picture of his son Dominic, who was allegedly abused by Father Michael Baker at age seven, during a press conference outside the Los Angeles County Courthouse where a record $660 million settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and plaintiffs who allege they were sexually abused by clergy members is to be presented for approval by a judge on July 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The proposed settlement plus $114 million in related settlements to which the church has agreed increases the archdiocese's financial liability over $774 million, the biggest payout since the church sex abuse scandal broke in Boston in 2001. The Archdiocese reportedly plans to raise the $660 million through the sale of some of its buildings, insurance payments, investments, and loans and contributions from some of the religious orders. In Boston, the church settled for $157 million, in Portland, Oregon it made a $129 million settlement, and in 2005, the diocese in Orange County, California paid $100 million for sex abuse claims. Five dioceses facing large settlements have filed for bankruptcy protection. Mahony apologized to victims, many who were children when they were sexually abused by clergy in the Los Angeles Archdiocese, after the settlement was announced and acknowledged he made mistakes handling the scandal.
For decades, many of the Catholic priests accused of molestation across the country were sent to The Servants of Paraclete treatment center in the small New Mexico town, Jemez Springs. In 1947, Father Gerald Fitzgerald opened the Servants of the Paracletes to deal with and isolate troubled priests.
The Servants of the Paracletes closed eighteen years ago, but what happened there over the course of nearly 50 years reveals much about how the Catholic church has responded to claims of sexual abuse.
For more on this, we're joined by Tom Roberts of the National Catholic Reporter.