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Settlements reached in Chicago clergy abuse cases
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    CHICAGO — The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said Tuesday it had agreed to pay more than $12.6 million to settle lawsuits by 16 people who accused priests of sexual abuse.
    ‘‘My hope is that these settlements will help the survivors and their families begin to heal and move forward,’’ Cardinal Francis George said in a statement in which he also apologized for the abuse.
    ‘‘We must continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of the children in our care,’’ he said.
    Fourteen of the cases involve sexual abuse by 10 different priests and two relate to the Rev. Daniel J. McCormack, who pleaded guilty last year to charges he abused five children.
    The archdiocese has now settled four of the five lawsuits stemming from abuse by McCormack.
    The archdiocese has now paid $65 million to settle approximately 250 claims during the past 30 years, said its chancellor, Jimmy Lago. Mediation continues in about a couple of dozen other cases, he said.
    The latest settlements were reached through a mediation process in which the cardinal himself gave a lengthy deposition.
    Lago said the archdiocese is releasing George’s deposition, the first time it has done so, in an attempt at openness.
    Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued a statement criticizing the church but praising the victims for insisting ‘‘that secret church documents about these pedophile priests will be made public.’’
    George previously acknowledged he failed to act soon enough in McCormack’s case.

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