Lawyers for more than 500 people who claim they were molested by priests said Thursday they are confident the required 80 percent of the alleged victims will accept the Boston Archdiocese's (search) $85 million settlement offer.

Attorney Roderick MacLeish Jr. (search) said the vast majority of his 260 clients have signed the agreement. By the time the Oct. 23 deadline arrives, he said he expects only about 10 people will have declined the offer.

"For a large group of individuals, this has literally been holding up their lives," MacLeish said. "They don't have closure, but they feel they've received some measure of justice."

The settlement agreement, reached in early September, requires approval from at least 80 percent of the 552 alleged victims for it to take effect.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne (search), a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the archdiocese's lawyer has not been told how many of the alleged victims signed the settlement, but they were optimistic the required number would agree to it.

The archdiocese has been at the center of a national scandal for nearly two years following the release of church documents that revealed that church officials had shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish instead of removing them.

Alan Cantor, a member of a steering committee of lawyers who represented all 57 attorneys during negotiations, predicted the settlement will get more than 95 percent approval.