National Catholic Reporter
August 15, 1998
Under a tentative agreement between the Dallas diocese and eight former altar boys sexually abused by a Catholic priest, the diocese will pay the victims a total of $22.5 million.
In a separate development, the Vatican took the rare step of defrocking the former priest, Rudolph "Rudy" Kos. The Vatican did not declare his ordination invalid, but, at the diocese's request, returned him to lay status and barred him from church ministry.
Kos, 53, is serving a life prison sentence. He was convicted this spring of sexual assault and indecency for molesting four boys more than 1,350 times between 1987 and 1992 at two parishes.
Eleven plaintiffs who filed suit against Kos and the Dallas diocese were awarded $119.5 million after a three-month jury trial last year. The award was the largest in U.S. history in a case involving sexual abuse by a clergyman.
After the trial, three plaintiffs settled for $7.5 million, saying they wanted to avoid lengthy appeals and the possibility of a reduced award. The Dallas diocese had said paying the $119.5 million would force it into bankruptcy.
The Rev. Tom Economus of LINKUP, a network of clergy abuse victims, said the $30 million total, while only a fourth of the jury award, was the largest settlement to date in a sexual abuse case involving a single clergyman.
Windle Turley, attorney for the eight plaintiffs, said through a spokesperson that the deal is not final. According to The Dallas Morning News, parties are still negotiating over nonmonetary matters, including an independent study of the diocese's ability to prevent sexual abuse. Also unresolved is disposition of another case alleged to involve Kos. After the trial last summer, a 12th man sued, saying he had been abused by Kos.
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