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Hartford archdiocese settles suit

HARTFORD -- The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford has agreed to pay $22 million to 43 people who say they were sexually abused by priests, the archdiocese and a lawyer representing some of the alleged victims said yesterday.

The settlement was the result of talks mediated by US Magistrate Judge William Garfinkel in Bridgeport, attorney Jason Tremont said.

''While I am grateful that the diocese has offered this compensation, I want to make it perfectly clear that no amount of money can replace what was taken from me at the hands of a child molester who wore a Roman collar and called himself 'Father,' " said James Hackett, one of the 43 alleged victims, who said he was molested in 1976 when he was an altar boy and middle school student at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hamden.

The settlement came after two years of mediation. The settlement payments will come from long-term savings and insurance policies, the archdiocese said. Money donated during annual church collections will not be used.

The alleged abuse in the Hartford archdiocese dated as far back as the 1960s and involved 14 priests or former priests.

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