SAN FRANCISCO – The Archdiocese of San Francisco (search) has agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle a dozen lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by a once-popular priest.
Attorneys announced the agreements Friday, days before the first of several planned trials was to begin with plaintiffs alleging they were abused by the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard (search).
The settlement works out to an average of $1.3 million for each plaintiff, but attorneys said the individual amounts varied and would not be disclosed.
The settlement is roughly comparable to a similar agreement reached last month with 10 other plaintiffs who said they were molested by Pritchard when he was pastor at St. Martin of Tours parish in San Jose.
"Money can't make up for what this guy did to us," said one of the men, Dennis Kavanaugh, 47.
In March, a jury awarded Kavanaugh $437,000 after deciding the church should have been aware of the abuse. That amount was included in Friday's announcement.
San Francisco Archbishop William Levada (search) again apologized to victims.
"It is our hope that the settlement of these cases will facilitate the process of healing for these victims," he said. "I again express to these victims, and all other victims of the clergy child abuse scandals, my sincere apology for the pain they have endured."
Last week a judge granted preliminary approval to a $120 million agreement between the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky and hundreds of victims of child-molesting priests and other employees.
The Covington fund is the largest agreement of its kind since the abuse scandal erupted in the Boston Archdiocese three years ago and spread nationwide.
Last December, the Diocese of Orange, Calif., agreed to pay $100 million to 87 victims. In 2003, the Boston Archdiocese settled with 552 victims for $85 million.