sexual abuse lawsuit

Wealthy Catholic Donor Offered Money To Make Sex Abuse Complaints Go Away

A prominent donor to the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans offered $400,000 to an alleged sexual abuse victim to settle his claims and stop cooperating with police in a criminal investigation, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Jefferson Parish.

The court complaint details allegations against Virgil Maxey “V.M.” Wheeler III, a local attorney and former deacon at St. Francis Xavier Church in Metairie who was arrested in March. The Jefferson Parish district attorney has not yet determined whether it will pursue charges against the 63-year-old.

US Figure Skating To Pay $1.45 Million In Sexual Abuse Case

Just hours before the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were set to begin in Las Vegas, the attorney for a former skater said the sport’s national governing body agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle the skater’s lawsuit accusing the organization of being negligent in its duty to protect young athletes from sexual abuse.

Adam Schmidt, 36, a former skating student of suspended Olympic coach Richard Callaghan, alleged that he suffered “numerous sexual assaults” by the well-known coach when he trained with him as a teenager in the years after U.S. Figure Skating ignored or dismissed other allegations of sexual abuse against Callaghan, now 74, who coached Tara Lipinski to an Olympic gold medal in 1998.

The settlement and information about the lawsuit were first reported by ABC News.

“Adam is incredibly brave to have proceeded with this lawsuit against a huge organization like U.S. Figure Skating,” his attorney, John Manly, said in a phone interview Thursday.

“He is just the tip of the iceberg in this sport. These athletes should be treated like the treasures they are. They’re the best our country has to offer. Instead, they’re treated like a commodity in an organization that has a culture of sexual abuse that is stunning and despicable.”

Richard Callaghan, shown in 1997 working with Tara Lipinski, was banned by the U.S. Center for SafeSport in 2019.

In a statement, USFS said it “does not comment on litigation,” adding it “fully supports all victims of sexual abuse and misconduct.”

In addition to the USFS settlement, Schmidt previously reached a $1.75-million settlement from the Onyx Ice Arena in Detroit, where Callaghan coached him and where the alleged sexual abuse took place.

In July 2020, another of Callaghan’s former skating students, Craig Maurizi, sued Callaghan and USFS over alleged sexual abuse by Callaghan. Maurizi alleged that Callaghan engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with him in 1976 when Maurizi was 13, and later initiated a full sexual relationship with Maurizi when he was 18.

$73 Million Settlement Reached in UCLA Gynecologist Sex Abuse Lawsuit

The University of California system has agreed to pay $73 million to more than 5,500 women who were patients of a former U.C.L.A. gynecologist who has been charged with 20 felony counts of sexual assault.

The settlement terms were made public on Monday in a class-action lawsuit against the university system and the physician, Dr. James Heaps. The suit was initiated by seven women who say Dr. Heaps sexually abused them during medical examinations.
In the settlement, the university system and Dr. Heaps do not admit wrongdoing, which is not uncommon. The settlement in the lawsuit, which was approved by the university system’s Board of Regents, still needs a judge’s approval.

The civil suit, which was filed in October 2019, is separate from the criminal case against Dr. Heaps, who was employed at the student health center at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1983 to 2010. Dr. Heaps, 64, worked at U.C.L.A. Health from 2014 to 2018. He was initially charged in June 2019 and has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Elizabeth A. Kramer, a lawyer for the women who filed the lawsuit, said in an email on Monday night that the sexual abuse was pervasive.

“The settlement, if approved, will provide real and immediate compensation to thousands of women — no less than $2,500 and up to $250,000, or more in extraordinary circumstances,” Ms. Kramer wrote. “In a case involving widespread sexual misconduct, a class settlement compensates survivors who otherwise would not have come forward to seek relief from the courts, through a respectful and confidential process.”

Under the terms of the settlement, the University of California system will pay the entire amount.

“The incidents described in the lawsuit reflect alleged conduct that is contrary to our values,” U.C.L.A. Health said in a statement on Monday. “We thank the individuals who came forward and hope that this settlement — which is still subject to court approval — is one small step forward for the patients involved.”

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