Archdiocese of Philadelphia to pay millions in suburban sexual assault suit

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $3.5 million to a man who claimed he was abused while a student at St. Katherine's of Sienna in Wayne, Pennsylvania

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The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was sexually assaulted by a priest when he was 14 years old.

The man, now 30 years old, claims the assault occurred in 2006 when he attended religious classes at St. Katherine's of Sienna, in Wayne, Pennsylvania, according to Philadelphia-based law firm, Kline & Specter.

The lawsuit claims that the late Pastor John Close sexually assaulted the student and warned him not to tell anyone.

It also notes that the man did not report the incident until years later in 2018.

In the lawsuit, the man said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the alleged abuse.

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In a statement, the archdiocese said they "acknowledge settlement in this matter and the resolution it brings."

"The plaintiff alleges that the late Reverend Monsignor John A. Close abused him on one occasion in 2006 when the plaintiff was a minor and when Monsignor Close was assigned to Saint Katharine of Siena Parish in Wayne," the statement acknowledged.

Close died back in March 2018 and the Archdiocese claims it had no knowledge of this allegation until it was brought forth by the victim's attorney in July 2019.

Also, according to the lawsuit, Close had been a danger to children for decades and had previously been accused of other incidents involving other children.

The lawsuit states in 2004, another man reported that Close sexually assaulted him when he was an altar boy in the late 1960s.

The archdiocese allegedly dismissed that allegation due to the fact there were inconsistencies in the case.

Yet, that wasn't the only other accusation against Close.

"Another child sexual assault survivor reported in 2011 that Close sexually assaulted him when he was a student and Close was the principal at Archbishop Wood High School in the early 1990s, Once again, the archdiocese cleared Close of wrongdoing," the lawsuit claims.

This case was settled out of court, without need for trial.

"The Archdiocese reaffirms its longstanding commitment to preventing child abuse, protecting the young people entrusted to its care, and providing holistic means of compassionate support for those who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of our clergy," a spokesperson for the archdiocese said in regard to the lawsuit. "We deeply regret the pain suffered by any survivor of child sexual abuse and have a sincere desire to help victims on their path to healing."

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