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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Settlement May be Near Between Archdiocese, Victims of Sex Abuse

Aired September 9, 2003 - 08:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go to Boston right now, a breaking story. There are indications that a settlement may be near between the archdiocese and hundreds of alleged victims of clergy sex abuse.
For more, Dan Lothian tracking this live in Boston with us today -- Dan, what are we finding out?

Good morning there.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Bill.

There had been a number of close calls, but now we are told by a source close to the negotiations that an agreement has been reached between the Boston Archdiocese and the alleged victims of sexual abuse. That number now being pegged at $85 million.

We're told that some 80 percent of the alleged victims, some 542, have signed onto this deal. We are told that the deal will be finalized later today. The victims, alleged victims, will get between $80,000 and $300,000. The church has also agreed to provide therapy to all of the alleged victims.

Now, the talks began in earnest about a month ago, Archbishop Sean O'Malley playing a major role in the negotiations. There were secret meetings that took place on Sunday night, additional meetings that took place last night, as well. Those various meetings continuing even as we speak this morning.

Once again, an $85 million settlement has been reached between the Boston Archdiocese here in Boston, obviously between the 542 victims, alleged victims of clergy abuse. An announcement expected some time later today -- Bill.

HEMMER: And if I could here, just listening to your report, 80 percent sign up. What do the other 20 percent do now? Do we know that?

LOTHIAN: We don't know that. Obviously, there -- a majority here have signed onto this deal and we are told by this source that this deal is going to go through. So we do expect this deal some time later today.

Now, there had been, as I mentioned, talks ongoing for quite some. But talks only began in earnest after Archbishop Sean O'Malley took over, when Cardinal Bernard Law left. There -- a lot of hopes were riding on Archbishop O'Malley. He was very actively involved in negotiations. The victims were quite hopeful that something could be reached. Initially they were looking for anywhere from $90 million, we're told, to $120 million. $85 million, though, seems to be the number that everyone can agree on.

HEMMER: All right, Dan, thanks.

Breaking news out of Boston.

We'll track it.

Dan Lothian reporting from there this morning.

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