Buffalo Diocese Offers $650,000 Settlement to Abuse Victim

Victim's attorney says he was abused by Rev. Michael Freeman

Tom Puckett
December 18, 2018 - 4:14 pm

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) An attorney for one of the victims of clergy abuse says the Buffalo Catholic Diocese has offered a six figure settlement. 

Attorney Steve Boyd says the diocese has offered his client $650,000 after testifying about being abused by Rev. Michael Freeman. "This priest would at times brandish a silver .38 revolver during these acts. On occasion, he brought my client up to Canada and was made to have sexual contact with male prostitutes in front of the priest," says Boyd.

Freeman was serving at St. Mary parish in Lancaster in the mid-1980s when the alleged abuse occurred.

Boyd says his client has 60 days to accept the offer and forego suing the diocese. "He's considering it carefully. We don't know what the retired judges had to deal with in terms of budgeting, but we respectfully believe a jury would more likely than not would considerably awayd more than $650,000," says Boyd.

Boyd also claims the diocese had a chance to keep Freeman away from children, but failed. "We know there was at least one written notification because one of the prior victims complained to a youth counselor and was taken downtown to the Catholic Center where he made a written complaint, and that was about three years earlier," notes Boyd.

When WBEN contacted the diocese for information on settlement offers, we received the following response:

*  Awards have recently been issued by the Administrators of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).

*  They are not settlement offers from the Diocese.

*  According to the Program, the claimant is free to accept or reject the awards issued by the Administrators. 

*  The Diocese is bound by whatever the claimant decides.

*  The IRCP claimants are not bound by confidentiality, and are free to publically discuss their claim and any aspect of the IRCP process.  

*  The Diocese, however, is bound by confidentiality and will not be commenting on specific claims.

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