Seattle Archdiocese Settles for $9.1M in Sex Abuse Case After Disturbing 1962 Psychiatrist Letter Revealed

Victims and relatives of children who claim they were sexually abused by the Catholic Church hold placards as they stand outside the venue for Australia's Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney, Australia, February 29, 2016. | (Photo: Reuters/David Gray)

The Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington, has settled a $9.1 million lawsuit over allegations of priest sex abuse against eight women.

The settlement, reached this week, came after a psychiatrist's letter was revealed last year that labeled former priest Michael Cody as a pedophile who should "be removed from parish work as soon as possible."

As The Washington Post reports, the letter was written by Psychiatrist Albert M. Hurley to church officials in 1962, six years before Cody allegedly molested eight female minors from 1968 to 1974.

In the letter, Hurley wrote that the priest, who was defrocked in 2005 and died in 2015, "was suffering from an abnormal sexual attraction toward young girls."

 "As you know, there have been complaints about his hostility and temper in the various parishes where he has served. He also complains of feelings of severe depression, during which time he prays that God will allow him to die rather than continue this behavior," the letter added.

Following the settlement, Attorney Rand Jack said in a statement that he was "privileged" to represent the eight women, who had all been abused when they were children.

"I feel privileged to have helped represent these women and to have experienced their courage and determination," the attorney said, according to the Associated Press.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain added in a statement that he hopes the settlement will serve as proof of the church's commitment to addressing its history of sex abuse.

"Our first priority is the protection of children and healing for past victims," Sartain said. "It is my firm commitment to build on the good efforts of the past and continue to take steps that will truly help victims of clergy sexual abuse to heal."

"This $9 million settlement demonstrates our ongoing commitment to acknowledge and address the devastating impact of clergy sexual abuse, and to encourage victims to come forward," the archbishop said.

In January, Sartain published a letter through the archdiocese website that revealed the names of 77 clergy members in the Washington area who have been linked to charges of sex abuse.

Sartain said the archdiocese chose to release the names "in the interest of further transparency and accountability, and to continue to encourage victims of sexual abuse by clergy to come forward."

"It has been my firm commitment to build on the good efforts of the past and continue to improve upon them. To that end, and after consultation with the members of the Archdiocesan Review Board, I am publishing a list of clergy and religious brothers and sisters for whom allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been admitted, established, or determined to be credible. These are individuals known to have served or resided in the Archdiocese," Sartain explained.

Sartain added that he "[expresses] my deepest apologies for the actions of those who were in positions of trust and who violated that sacred trust by abusing the vulnerable in their care. Our work in this area will not be complete until all those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing, and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society."

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