Boston diocese faces 140 new claims of sexual abuse

.- The Archdiocese of Boston is facing another 140 claims of sexual abuse less than one year after paying out $85 million to settle 541 sexual-abuse claims.  The new claims span the 1950s to the 1980s, reported The Boston Globe.

But church spokesman Fr. Christopher J. Coyne told the Globe the archdiocese cannot afford to settle the new cases now because it has been unable to recoup money from its insurance policies to cover last year's settlement. The archdiocese's lawyer, Thomas H. Hannigan Jr., gave the same reasoning.

If the new suits were settled for the $20,000 maximum allowed under the charitable immunity standard, the archdiocese could be facing claims worth nearly $3 million. If the archdiocese followed the standard it set in settling the 541 cases last year, the bill would be around $20 million.

The archdiocese borrowed the money used to settle the cases last December, and since then has sold the cardinal's residence and surrounding land to Boston College for $107 million to pay down its debts. It has also slated 82 parishes for closure.

Fr. Coyne insisted that none of the funds raised by the property sale or by closing parishes would be used to settle claims. The money to pay the settlements should come from insurance sources, he told the Globe. It is unclear how long it will take to recoup these insurance funds, though the archdiocese has already begun the legal process.

Fr. Coyne said there was no intention by the archdiocese to play "hard ball" in the face of these new claims and most of the lawyers representing alleged victims have been understanding of the archdiocese's financial situation.

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July 29, 2014

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