The Boston Roman Catholic Church paid at least $21.2m (€18.8m) to settle cases involving 149 people between 1994 and 2001, records showed.
The previously unreleased reports came as alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse yesterday began considering an offer by the Boston archdiocese to settle a further 542 lawsuits.
Annual reports prepared by church officials show that the archdiocese’s Sexual Misconduct Delegate’s Office received 210 new claims against church employees between July 1994 and October 2001. The records did not specify what happened to the other 61 cases.
The previously secret reports were made public after they were released to lawyers representing alleged victims who have pending lawsuits against the archdiocese.
Lawyer Jeffrey Newman, whose firm, Greenberg Traurig, represents about 260 alleged victims, said the records reinforce claims that top church administrators, including Cardinal Bernard Law, did little to address the problem of sexual abuse, despite the large number of complaints and eventual settlements.
“It is obvious from these documents that there were a significant number of claims that were occurring over the years and yet there was very little done to intervene and stop the problem,” Newman said.
The documents were mentioned by State Attorney General Thomas Reilly when he released a scathing report last month on sexual abuse in the archdiocese over the past six decades.
Lawyers for Greenberg Traurig then demanded the reports from the archdiocese.
In his report, Reilly concluded that more than 1,000 children had probably been sexually abused by priests between 1940 and 2000. Reilly blasted church officials for a “massive, inexcusable failure” to stop the abuse.
A small group of lawyers representing alleged victims met on Monday to begin drafting a response to the $55m (€48m) settlement proposal made last Friday to 542 alleged victims.