A man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by a Catholic priest nearly 50 years ago has settled his €350,000 damages claim in the Supreme Court.
In his ruling on Friday, Judge Garrett Simons approved the settlement of the assault complaint brought by the now 60-year-old man, currently residing in the UK, against Sacred Heart Missionary Education Trust and his alleged abuser.
The case was settled by the Trust without either defendant admitting liability.
The man claimed to have been sexually abused by a priest who taught at a secondary school run by the Trust.
The alleged abuse is said to have occurred in the mid-1970s, when the applicant was a student at the school and in his teens.
As a result of the alleged abuse, the man sued the defendants for damages for the personal injuries suffered.
The claims were dismissed, and the suit was dismissed on the grounds, among other things, that the claim against the defendants was statute-barred.
The Trust also argued that it is not vicariously liable for acts allegedly committed by the priest.
The Trust had also claimed that the fact that the man had been sexually abused by others unconnected to the school also had to be taken into account.
It has been argued that these perpetrators are “simultaneous offenders” and that failure to prosecute them will result in legal ramifications.
Due to a medical condition that causes the man to struggle with his memory and attention span, he cannot be identified for legal reasons.
In his decision, the judge said he was sent a settlement because the man was unable to give instructions regarding his claim or manage his own affairs.
The man is currently being held in a psychiatric facility in England and is the subject of various orders from English courts, the judge noted.
Due to his health condition, which became problematic after he filed his assault lawsuit, his case was altered and eventually initiated on his behalf by his “next girlfriend”, in this case his sister.
In approving the settlement, Judge Simons said the lawsuit would have been dismissed “with a high degree of probability” had the case gone to trial.
The judge said the claim was patently statute-barred and because of the plaintiff’s mental health, he was not authorized to provide evidence on jury in the proceeding.
Given the circumstances, the settlement was excellent from the plaintiff’s point of view, the judge said, adding that there was no realistic prospect that the man would receive a larger sum than that offered if the case had gone to trial.
The severance pay, the judge ordered, is to be paid to the English local authority, which is charged with administering the man’s affairs.
https://www.independent.ie/news/man-who-claims-he-was-sexually-abused-by-a-catholic-priest-settles-high-court-damages-action-for-350000-41995245.html Man who claims he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest settles High Court damages claim at €350,000