Delaware priest abuse victims reach settlement

Fourteen victims of sexual abuse have reached a $7 million settlement in their civil suit against St. Edmonds Academy, the Capuchin friars, and the Brothers of the Holy Cross.

Two of the victims, Matthias Conaty and Jeff Rose, talked about the settlement in front of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.  Conaty says, “This is a painful day in some ways, but it’s also a day of triumph, because the voice that I could not use as a child, as a little boy, was found.”  Conaty was abused by former Capuchin Friar Paul L. Daleo, who worked at St. Edmonds.  

Rose was overcome by emotion and nearly fainted while talking about what the settlement meant.  “One of the most important things for me in this is knowing that there’s a little bit of closure for me, and to see more preventative measures and more transparency moving forward to help all students,” Rose said.  Rose was abused by former St. Edmond’s teacher and wrestling coach John J. Fleming.

In addition to the monetary award, the settlement also includes provisions for the school and the friars to release documents about the abuse, including the names of those known to have abused children.  

“My most important message today is that we need to do as a society everything that we can do to make sure that this does not happen to one more child,” said Conaty.  

Judy Miller with the Delaware chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) credits the bravery of the victims in coming forward to help prevent other kids from suffering like they did.  “Because of their bravery, kids are safer today, we believe, and their predators have been exposed.  We especially applaud them for forcing church officials to adopt some very good prevention methods.”

The monetary award will go into a pot, along with other payments for settlements of abuse, against other groups including the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.  The money will then be divided among the victims, according to severity of the abuse, by former Pennsylvania Judge Thomas Rutter.

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