Boucher Trial Lawyer of the Year

Boucher Trial Lawyer of the Year Raymond Boucher has been named the 2007 Trial Lawyer of the Year by both Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) and Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CA...

Boucher Top 100 2007-08 Once again, Raymond Boucher, was named by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top 100 attorneys in the state. About Mr. Boucher the Journal commented his negotiations ...Boucher Top 100 2007-08

Priest Abuse

660-Million Settlement in Priest Abuses

L.A. Archdiocese's Payout to 508 Claimants Is the Largest in the Sex Scandal That Has Rocked the Catholic Church.

By Joe Mozingo and John Spano Los Angeles Times July 15, 2007

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed Saturday to a $660-million settlement with 508 people who have accused priests of sexual abuse, by far the biggest payout in the child molestation scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church nationwide.

"Some of the victims have waited more than five decades for a chance at reconciliation and resolution," said Raymond Boucher, the main attorney for the plaintiffs. "This is a down payment on that debt long overdue."The agreement will end all of the pending abuse litigation against the most populous archdiocese in the U.S.

"It's been a long, hard slog," said church attorney J. Michael Hennigan. "I'm delighted to see it's come to a conclusion."Lawyers had been slated to go to court Monday for the first of 15 scheduled civil trials pitting alleged victims against the archdiocese and individual priests. Settling before the legal marathon was considered particularly urgent because the archdiocese faced potential punitive damages, as well as the prospect of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony having to testify.

Although the settlement will effectively end a chapter in the sad saga of clerical abuse that has spanned decades, the resolution will come at a huge cost to the church. More than $114 million has been promised in previous settlements, bringing the total liability for clergy misconduct in the Los Angeles Archdiocese to more than $774 million.

The figure dwarfs the next largest settlements in the U.S., including those reached in Boston, at $157 million, and in Portland, Ore., at $129 million. Hennigan said the archdiocese expected to pay $250 million in cash, with the balance coming from insurers and religious orders."Parish assets will not be touched, and the mission of the church will be impacted but not crippled," he said.

Mahony had previously fought victims, their attorneys and prosecutors demanding confidential personnel files that tracked the problems of accused priests and the church hierarchy's reaction to them. As part of the settlement, the archdiocese agreed it will no longer contest the release of files to the public, one of the attorneys in the lawsuits said. A private judge will mediate any objections from individual priests.

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