The reported framework for a settlement would give up to $30 million to the 86 plaintiffs, which include 70 people who claimed they were abused by Geoghan. Each would receive an average of $232,000 to $348,000 each, with an arbitrator deciding the amount in each case, The Boston Globe reported.
The two sides met for five hours Tuesday and are scheduled to meet again Friday. Neither side would confirm details. "Our goal is to achieve a fair and just resolution of these cases as soon as possible in the best interest of the victims," archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said Tuesday. She declined comment Wednesday.
The tentative agreement, which has been negotiated for the past 11 months, would still need the signatures of all 86 plaintiffs and the 17 defendants, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law. The archdiocese months ago agreed not to require the 86 plaintiffs to sign confidentiality agreements, Garabedian said. He also said lawyers for Law contacted him Wednesday to arrange a date to depose Law in the next three weeks.
The church has already paid an estimated $15 million to alleged Geoghan victims since the mid-1990s.
Geoghan was sentenced to nine to 10 years in prison last month for groping a 10-year-old boy in a swimming pool and he faces two more criminal trials. He has been accused of molesting more than 130 children in six parishes over 30 years. The archdiocese's failure to stop Geoghan, even after widespread reports of his abuse, has led to an unfolding sexual abuse scandal. Within the last month, Law has given prosecutors the names of 80 priests accused of abuse over four decades, and suspended 10 active priests from their posts.
Meanwhile, Boston College High School confirmed Wednesday that a third Jesuit priest has been suspended from a teaching position after being accused of molesting a student. The Rev. Stephen F. Dawber was removed from his post as a history teacher. The school took the action after a graduate told The Globe he was molested by Dawber, now 63, in the early 1970s. There was no immediate comment from Dawber; no local telephone number was listed for him.
BC High spokesman Michael Reardon said the school had yet to find evidence of abuse by any of the priests. "We have found no allegations reported to school officials regarding Father Dawber or either of the other two Jesuits," he said. "However, we are continuing our investigation."