In the largest known payout to date by a U.S. diocese to settle molestation charges, on Sept. 9, 2003, the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay $85 million to settle more than 500 lawsuits from people who claim Roman Catholic priests abused them. Under the agreement, victims would receive awards ranging from $80,000 to $300,000; Parents who filed lawsuits claiming their children were abused would receive $20,000.
In March 2002, the Boston Archdiocese agreed to pay up to $30 million to 86 people who accused former priest John Geoghan of child molestation. The archdiocese had already paid an estimated $15 million to 40 of Geoghan's alleged victims since the mid-1990s.
In early November 2002, a Gallup poll indicated that, since the scandal erupted, one in five devout Roman Catholics had stopped donating money to a diocese. The survey, commissioned by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, an association of Catholic philanthropists, also suggested that parishioners across the nation worry that their donations to the church are being used for legal fees in abuse lawsuits or to pay hush money to victims.