Brooklyn Diocese to pay millions to settle sex abuse claims

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St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Church in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn (

NEW YORK (AP) — Four men who said they were sexually abused as boys by a teacher at a Brooklyn Catholic church have reached a $27.5 million settlement from the Diocese of Brooklyn.

The New York Times reports Tuesday the agreement is one of the largest settlements ever awarded to sexual abuse victims within the Catholic Church. The men will each receive about $6.8 million.

Lawyers for the victims said Angelo Serrano, 67, a lay teacher of religion at St. Lucy's-St. Patrick's Church in Brooklyn, repeatedly abused the young boys between 2003 and 2009. Serrano is serving a 15-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2011 to charges of inappropriate course of sexual conduct with a child.

Attorney Ben Rubinowitz said the abuse should never have happened.

"We hope this is another step forward in the healing process for these claimants," the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement. "The Diocese remains committed to ensuring that its parishes, schools and youth programs remain safe and secure for the young people who are entrusted to our care."

The statement added that Serrano was a "volunteer worker" at a local parish and "was not clergy or an employee of the Diocese or parish."

The Diocese of Brooklyn presides over parishes and schools in Brooklyn and Queens.