3 Catholic leaders accused of sexually assaulting minors have since died
updated 7:53 a.m. ET, Thurs., March. 5, 2009
FORT WORTH, Texas - The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth on Wednesday reached a $775,000 settlement involving sexual abuse claims against three priests who have since died.
The five people involved in the claims said they were sexually abused by the Rev. James Reilly, who served at St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington from 1969 through 1987, when he retired. Reilly died in 1999.
Diocese spokesman Pat Svacina said he could not reveal any specifics, such as the victims' genders or dates of the alleged abuse.
One of the cases also involved two other priests, the Rev. James Hanlon and the Rev. Gerard Scholl, both of whom served or taught in Texas and New Mexico from the 1970s to the 1990s. Hanlon died in 1990 and Scholl died in 2002, according to records.
The Rev. Kevin Vann, bishop of the Fort Worth diocese, said he was deeply sorry for any sexual abuse the victims may have suffered by the three priests, and that he prays for their healing and reconciliation.
Vann said in a statement that he was "committed to ensuring that the diocese's policies are adhered to so we can prevent future tragedy such as that which has befallen the victims of abuse."
Among the diocese's recent settlements is a lawsuit filed by 11 men who said Reilly sexually abused them when they were altar boys. The men received at least $1 million apiece and payment for one year of counseling.
Reilly and Hanlon were two of six Fort Worth diocese priests accused of sexually abusing minors named in documents released in 2006. Those files had been sealed as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit that was settled in 2005.