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Diocese in Portland Settles Sex Abuse Suit for $1.2M

PORTLAND, Maine - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, has settled a lawsuit by six men who said church leaders concealed child sex abuse allegations against former priest James Vallely over a period of decades. 

The alleged victims settled for $1.2 million.

Mitchell Garabedian is the attorney for the six men and has represented hundreds of survivors of clergy child sexual abuse.

He says the settlement doesn't involve any admission of guilt by the diocese but, given the size of the settlement, that doesn't mean much.

"The diocese has denied liability but that's just standard operating procedure," Garabedian says. "It's a facade, given that they paid $1.2 to six individuals who were sexually abused by Fr. James Vallely, to take a position that they are not liable."

The lawsuits were filed in November by men from Maine, New Hampshire and New York.

Garabedian has said the Portland Diocese had knowledge of multiple accusations but didn't remove Vallely from ministry. Vallely died in 1997.

In an email, Portland Diocese spokesman Dave Guthro says the diocese hopes the settlement "brings a measure of peace" to those involved, but that it doesn't speak publicly about "possible victims."