March 24, 2016
Seattle Archdiocese Settles Eight Sexual Abuse Cases For $9,150,000
(Mt. Vernon, Bellingham, Seattle) — The Seattle Archdiocese has paid $9,150,000 to settle the claims of eight women who were sexually abused as young girls by parish priest Father Michael Cody. Documentary evidence demonstrates that the Archdiocese knew that Cody was a pedophile and that he was a danger to young people well before the abuse of these women occurred.
Cody sexually abused six of the women while he was assigned to St. Charles Parish in Burlington, Washington from 1968 to 1972, and the other two while he was assigned to Assumption Parish in Bellingham, Washington from 1972 to 1975.
During a trial last year of Jeri Hubbard, who was abused by Cody in Skagit County in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Seattle Archdiocese admitted it acted in an outrageous manner and caused Hubbard serious injuries. In 1962 the then Seattle archbishop had received a letter from a psychiatrist stating that Cody had sexually abused young girls and diagnosing him as a pedophile. Subsequent letters from other priests repeatedly warned the archbishop of Cody’s dangerous propensities. The archbishop then transferred Cody from King to Skagit County where he abused Hubbard. The Archdiocese settled with Hubbard for 1.2 million dollars the day before the jury was scheduled to begin deliberations.
The same legal team that represented Jeri Hubbard also represented the eight women whose cases were just resolved for $9,150,000 – John Murphy of Mt Vernon, Mike Pfau of Seattle and Rand Jack of Bellingham.
Attorney John Murphy, commented: “By bringing these lawsuits, these brave women have helped focus attention on the betrayal by the Archdiocese, as well as by priests. We have barely begun to understand the depth and breadth of the psychological injuries they have suffered and continue to suffer. Hopefully, the resolution of these lawsuits will be part of the healing process.”
Rand Jack of Bellingham added: “I feel privileged to have helped represent these women and to have experienced their courage and determination. They have stood up for themselves and other victims of sexual abuse. Money damages can never compensate them for the harm caused by their parish priest and the betrayal of a powerful institution they revered.”
Seattle attorney Michael T. Pfau, suspects the Archdiocese settled because it does not want the public to hear the full evidence that exists regarding Cody and because the evidence implicating the former Archbishop was so damning. Pfau says: “The evidence regarding Father Cody is overwhelming, and I don’t think the Archdiocese wants more bad publicity. The direct involvement of former Archbishop Thomas Connelly in placing this pedophile in parishes with full knowledge of his danger to children is truly disturbing.”
Pfau also states: “The 1962 record describing Cody’s diagnosis as a pedophile may be one of the earliest remaining record regarding a priest in the Seattle Archdiocese posing a danger to children, at least that I’ve seen in representing abuse survivors.”
Father Cody had previously served at St. Luke Parish in Seattle, Holy Family Parish in Seattle, St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Holy Family Parish in Auburn, and Sacred Heart Parish in La Conner. He was then transferred to St. Charles Parish in Burlington and Assumption Parish in Bellingham, followed by St. Margaret Parish in Seattle.
The plaintiffs are jointly represented by Michael Pfau of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC in Seattle, Washington, John W. Murphy of Mt. Vernon, Washington, and Rand F. Jack of Bellingham, Washington.
In The News
Washington Post (Mar. 24, 2016) – ‘Father Cody is dangerous’: Seattle Archdiocese settles sex abuse case for $9.1 million after damning letters surface
KOMO News (Mar. 23, 2016) – Seattle Archdiocese settles 8 abuse cases for $9 million
Seattle Times (Mar. 23, 2016) – 8 women settle with Seattle Archdiocese for $9.1 million in priest sex-abuse cases