NJ Catholic school pays $1.9M to 21 alleged teen sex assault victims
ORADELL — Twenty-one alleged sexual abuse victims have settled a $1.9 million lawsuit with Bergen Catholic High School.
The settlement was made nine months ago, but two advocates for the victims held a press conference in front of the school announcing the settlement MOnday.
Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represented the victims, told NorthJersey.com that at the time of the alleged abuse from 1963 to 1978, the plaintiffs were between 13 and 17 years old. Garabedian alleges his clients were abused by brothers who worked in the parochial school at the time. He told the publication that nothing has changed since the settlement, but said the alleged victims were ready to come forward and discuss the case.
Monday's press conference was held by Road to Recovery Inc., a group that assists sexual abuse victims. The organizers, Robert Hoatson, 64, of West Orange, and Kevin Waldrip, 65, of Old Bridge, have had protests at the school and, according to NorthJersey.com, believe the school was motivated to settle the case to avoid negative publicity.
A settlement in the lawsuit was reached on Nov. 25, 2015 following negotiations and mediation between the Christian Brothers Institute / Bergen Catholic High School and counsel for the 21 alleged victims. The settlement stipulates that the plaintiffs would not file any civil suits against the high school or Christian Brothers Institute.
In addition, the settlement states that the agreement doesn't constitute an admission of liability on the part of the high school by agreeing to the payout. Last year, Bergen Catholic's attorney, Thomas Herten, issued a statement saying that the school had been involved in a "good faith mediation" in an effort to settle the case, according to NorthJersey.com.
The settlement states that each of the alleged victims was due to receive between $65,000 and $115,000 from the $1.9 million that was awarded. The exact amount that each plaintiff received was to be determined by an arbitrator who would make the determination based on several factors including the "extent of the injuries" and the nature of the abuse suffered," the settlement states.
The actual payments were scheduled to be made to each alleged victim by Dec. 7, 2015.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.
More from New Jersey 101.5: