A 63-year old woman received a $1.2 million settlement payment from the Archdiocese of Seattle as compensation for her suffering from years prior. The woman suffered sexual abuse, according to the case, at the hands of Father Michael Cody. She was a child at the time, in the late 1960’s, when she came into contact with the priest while he served at St. Charles Parish. The lawsuit settlement payment was, according to her attorney, a fair and reasonable amount of money due to the type and amount of abuse the accuser, Jeri Hubbard, suffered through.
Factors Leading to the Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and Settlement
According to the lawsuit, the accuser, who agreed to be named, suffered abuse at the hands of Cody after a psychiatrist identified him as a pedophile. The lawsuit alleged that the church knew that he had already molested eight other children, all of which who were under the age of 18. The archbishop at the time sent Cody to receive treatment, but he was allowed to come back to the church, even though the parish knew he was still a danger to children. For Hubbard, the abuse began in 1967 and continued for the next five years.
Initially, the Archdiocese denied that the allegations were true, but on the day prior to the announcement of the lawsuit settlement payment, admitted liability for the abuse, which was acknowledged by the Superior Court Judge overseeing the case.
While the case for Hubbard may be over, there are still other victims who have come forward. Three additional sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Seattle Archdiocese, all alleging molestation against Cody. Each of the previously resolved cases have been settled out of court. Interestingly, Hubbard could have settled her case earlier, but refused to do so until the Archdiocese admitted to moving a sexual predator into the community.
The Seattle Archdiocese has agreed to pay more than $12 million in another case in which 30 men were sexually abused as students. In total, since 2003, the Catholic Church has paid more than $3 billion to victims around the United States who were sexually abused by clergy members, reports BishopAccountability.org.