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Arkansas Catholic diocese settles abuse claims from 5 men

By Clyde Hughes
Abuse involving the five complainants occurred in the early 1970s, their attorneys said. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a24b052d51e2050564deb96f81e53232/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Abuse involving the five complainants occurred in the early 1970s, their attorneys said. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- Arkansas attorneys say the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock has agreed to settle accusations from five men who said a priest abused them when they were children decades ago.

The accusations were made against priest John J. McDaniel, and the abuse occurred in the early 1970s, the complaints said.

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Attorney Joshua Gillispie said the settlement is the first from the diocese over accusations of abuse by a priest.

"We are very proud of our clients, who had the strength of heart and mind to come forward and hold the Diocese of Little Rock responsible for its long history of misdeeds," Gillispie said in a statement.

Last year, the diocese listed McDaniel, who served in the diocese from 1955 until his death in 1974, on its Clergy Disclosure List of priests accused of sexual misconduct. At the time, the diocese said there were three known victims. It said after identifying the priest, it found the accusations credible and offered assistance to the victims.

The five boys were between the ages of 12 and 15 at the time of the purported abuse, and were students at Our Lady of the Holy Souls School, where McDaniel had access to them. The attorneys said most of the abuse happened in the priest's rectory on campus.

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"It is extremely likely that there many, many more victims," Gillispie said.

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