The attorney who represented the 2006 victims said he is preparing to file a lawsuit on behalf of La Jarvis and Joshua, and plans to argue that the settlements they signed are not legally binding.
Gannon told the AP that he believes that the three men were abused and said that their race- all three are black- and the fact that all three are poor did not factor into the size of the settlement. He also said the Franciscans have no intention of enforcing the nondisclosure agreement.
West was removed from ministry by the Franciscan Order and the Diocese after the 1998 complaint, the statement said, and never returned to Greenwood or Mississippi.
The Franciscan Province also released a statement on the matter, which they updated Aug. 29.
"We have provided assistance to two of the men that is not discussed in the article," the statement says, but does not elaborate on what form the assistance has taken.
"While the actions of the two former friars took place over two decades ago, they are still very painful in the lives of these men who suffered so much."
The diocese said that during the course of the 1998 investigation, the Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools authorized the St. Francis School administration to have a trained psychologist conduct "six age-appropriate boundary and relationship educational sessions with the children," and counselors met with the children in order to determine if others had been abused.
"The school administration sent out questionnaires to former students' parents to determine why they had left the school," the diocese continued.
"The administration also interviewed other potential victims and sought to provide counseling for not only Love but any that may have been abused."
The Franciscans' statement noted that all of their friars, sisters, faculty and volunteers participate in the VIRTUS training program to help them recognize the "grooming process that perpetrators use to victimize children, some of which are mentioned in the article. We are also trained on how to respond appropriately to what we observe."
"We pray for healing for the survivors of this abuse and for all victims of abuse and for their families and friends," the Friars concluded.
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CNA was unable to reach Father Gannon for additional comment.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.