Attorneys file estimates on more than 400 church sex abuse laws

Saturday, December 21, 2002

BOSTON -- In a step aimed at resolving more than 400 sex-abuse lawsuits filed against the Boston Archdiocese, attorneys for alleged victims submitted rough estimates Friday of how much money they are seeking.

The undisclosed figures were submitted by about two dozen attorneys and were based on descriptions of the alleged abuse, how alleged victims were hurt and how much money the attorneys believe their clients should receive.

Lawyers for the archdiocese have until Jan. 15 to respond. If the two sides are not too far apart, the lawsuits could be sent to mediators to oversee settlements.

No details on estimates

Plaintiffs' attorneys would not reveal details of the estimates, or say what they expect the combined total from all alleged victims to be.

Attorney Carmen Durso, who represents 35 plaintiffs, said the lawyers submitted a range of amounts they are willing to negotiate for their clients as a group.

The church doesn't "so much care how much John Smith who was victimized is asking for. What's important for them is to get a handle on the total amount that all the plaintiffs are looking for," Durso said.

Attorney Jeffrey Newman, whose firm represents 222 alleged victims, said the archdiocese's lawyers will likely submit the estimates to the church's insurance carriers to see how much they will cover.

The archdiocese's lead lawyer, Wilson Rogers Jr., did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

Separately, the personnel files of four more priests were released Friday by plaintiffs' attorneys.

The files include allegations of sexual abuse made against them and the archdiocese's handling of them.

One priest, the Rev. David C. Murphy, was assigned to Sts. Peter and Paul in South Boston in the 1970s. Basement rooms at the rectory were known as "Murphy's house of whores," according to handwritten notes following a 1982 meeting between Murphy and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas V. Daily.

When asked about the name by Daily, Murphy called it "unfair" and said that "nothing untoward happened there," according to the documents.

A message left at Our Lady of Lourdes Rectory in Brockton, which is listed as Murphy's current mailing address, was not immediately returned.

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