Secret files

8 women abused as children by priest settle with Seattle Archdiocese for $9.1 million

Father Michael Cody (undated photo)

Eight women who sued the Seattle Archdiocese, alleging sexual abuse at the hands of former priest, Michael Cody, a known pedophile, have reached a $9.1 million settlement, the archdiocese announced Wednesday night. Cody, who died last year, served Catholic parishes in Western Washington during the 1960s and into the late 1970s. He preyed on children for years, despite church officials knowing of his proclivities, according to what’s known as Cody’s “secret file” in the archdiocese. Of the eight women, Cody sexually abused six of them while at St. Charles Parish in Burlington, Skagit County, from 1968 to 1972. He abused the other two after being assigned to Assumption Parish in Bellingham from 1972 to 1975.

Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain said he hoped the settlement helped to bring closure to the women, and demonstrated the church’s commitment to addressing sexual abuse by clergy members. One of the women’s attorneys, Michael T. Pfau, said he believed the archdiocese settled because “it does not want the public to hear the full evidence that exists” against Cody and then Archbishop Thomas Connolly, who was largely responsible for moving the priest to unsuspecting parishes. In January, the Seattle Archdiocese published a list identifying 77 clergy members, including Cody, who lived or worked in Western Washington and are believed to have sexually abused children. Since then, activists have called on Sartain to release the secret files documenting the abuse.

Read the full story at The Seattle Times.

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