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Seattle Archdiocese to pay $12 million to settle child sex abuse claims: lawyer

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The Archdiocese of Seattle has agreed to pay about $12.125 million to 30 men who alleged they were sexually abused as children and teens at two Seattle-area schools from the 1950s until 1984, their attorney said.

The men alleged in lawsuits filed in King County Superior Court that the Catholic district failed to shield them from known abusers at Seattle's O'Dea High School and at Briscoe Memorial School, in nearby Kent, plaintiffs' attorney Michael Pfau said in an interview.

The schools were operated jointly by the Christian Brothers of Ireland religious order and the Archdiocese of Seattle, which owned both schools, he said. The settlement agreement, which had been negotiated over the past year, was announced on Tuesday.

The agreement comes weeks after Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church had to take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.

Media in the U.S began reporting in the early 2000s how cases of abuse were systematically covered up and abusive priests were shuttled from parish to parish instead of being defrocked and handed over to civil authorities.

The Christian Brothers of Ireland, Inc, and Christian Brothers agreed in a May 2013 settlement reached in U.S. bankruptcy court to pay $16.5 million to more than 400 adults who said religious leaders sexually abused them as children.

"I deeply regret the pain suffered by these victims," Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Seattle Times newspaper.

"Our hope is that this settlement will bring them closure and allow them to continue the process of healing," he said.

The Archdiocese will make three consecutive payments in June, July, and August, Pfau said.

(Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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