The Beaumont Diocese reached a settlement in a civil suit filed by six plaintiffs who claimed that they had been sexually abused more than 20 or 30 years ago by Father Ronald Bollich, a diocesan priest who died in 1996 at age 59.
Terms of the settlement, reached in mid-December after two years of
negotiations, remained confidential at the plaintiffs' request,
according to Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of Beaumont.
In a letter to
Catholics of the diocese announcing the settlement, the bishop said that
as the agreement was being reached, the court was considering motions
on behalf of the diocese that could have resulted in dismissal of the
"The attorney for the diocese continues to advise that we had
valid defenses to all the plaintiffs' claims," said the bishop.
"However, from the beginning, all the parties recognized that it would
be in the best interest for all involved if the case could be resolved
outside of the legal system. I believe we have acted in a responsible
and amicable manner in the disposition of these allegations. My decision
to settle this lawsuit at this time has been the result of much prayer,
consultation and reflection," Bishop Guillory said.
"I am deeply
saddened by the sexual abuse scandals that have affected the church and
now our own diocese and the southeast Texas community," he said. "These
global scandals have profoundly impacted many lives and have grieved our
priests including myself."