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Diocese of Orange Settles Four Church Abuse Cases Before Trial

The Diocese of Orange said late Friday it has settled four clergy abuse cases, including a case that had threatened to expose the bishop to a contempt of court hearing next week.

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The Diocese of Orange said late Friday it has settled four clergy abuse cases, including a case that had threatened to expose the bishop to a contempt of court hearing next week.

It wasn't immediately known how much plaintiffs would receive under the terms of the deal, which had been in the works for several weeks as attorneys simultaneously prepared for trial.

The cases were the first to be filed since 2004, when the Diocese of Orange reached a record-breaking $100 million settlement with about 90 plaintiffs. The lawsuits, the first of which was to go to trial Oct. 15, involved allegations against three lay teachers at Mater Dei High School and Santa Margarita High School, as well as allegations against a priest at a neighborhood parish.

"The settlement of these civil cases represents the moral obligation for the church for such behavior by adults in positions of responsibility," Bishop Tod D. Brown said in a statement.

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