Priest Sex Abuse Trial Ends in Settlement for Plaintiff

Seattle Public DomainA 63-year-old Sedro Woolley woman settled her civil sexual abuse case against the Archdiocese of Seattle for $1,200,000 just days prior to the closing arguments of the trial.

The priest sex abuse trial had not been going well for the Archdiocese as they had to admit under oath that they were aware that former priest Michael Cody had been diagnosed as a pedophile and that the Archdiocese transferred him from parish to parish anyway. Cody served at St. Luke Parish in Seattle; Holy Family Parish in Seattle; St. James Cathedral in Seattle; Holy Family Parish in Auburn; and, Sacred Heart Parish in La Conner. He was then transferred to St. Charles Parish in Burlington and Assumption Parish in Bellingham, followed by St. Margaret Parish in Seattle.

The most damning testimony during the trial occurred when it was revealed that a psychiatrist in 1962 advised former Seattle Archbishop Thomas Connelly that Cody had molested at least eight girls in the past year and diagnosed Cody as a pedophile. Archbishop Connelly eventually sent Cody to treatment, but allowed him to return and eventually transferred him to St. Charles Parish.

This trial is an important victory not only for the individual plaintiff but for all survivors of abuse. It proves that the Catholic Church knew that pedophilic behavior was a clear and present danger to children and yet they did nothing to protect parishioners, especially the most vulnerable.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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