The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California has settled a sexual assault and cover-up lawsuit this past week. The accused, a former Monsignor, Michael Harris, agreed to pay $2 million to end the case that involved a single incident of sexual abuse.
The settlement came after hours of negotiations before a jury was to be selected for trial. Harris, 41 years-old and a father of two, was accused of abusing a student while he was the principal of the Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA.
The church is paying the settlement for Harris, who is insolvent. The alleged victim has also requested, and will receive, a letter of apology.
The victim alleged that Harris had called him into his office to reward him for good behavior and to give him a rosary blessed by the pope. But he then grabbed the boy’s penis and sexually assaulted him.
Critics are not satisfied with the settlement. They are angry that a man who has complete access to kids, and who has allegedly committed a lewd sexual assault, is now free in society, and that the church who covered for him went unpunished.
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