California diocese settles clergy sex abuse case for $2M

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

The Orange County Register reports that on Monday, just as jury selection was about to begin in a California state court, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange settled a sex-abuse and cover-up lawsuit for $2 million. Also, as part of the settlement, Bishop Tod Brown will send a letter of apology to plaintiff, who is now an Air Force lieutenant colonel who has flown combat missions in many parts of the world.  The suit claims that a once popular and high profile former priest, Michael Harris, abused plaintiff when he was a teenager.  As as principal of Mater Dei high school, Harris called plaintiff into his office to congratulate him and give him a rosary blessed by the pope as a reward for chasing down the perpetrator in a purse snatching he witnessed. During this meeting he sexually assaulted plaintiff.