$30 Million Award in Priest Sex Abuse Case May be Largest Ever

Former priest John Geoghan watches as his alledged victim, who cannot be identified by court order, enters the court room to testify, in this Jan. 16, 2002 file photo, at Middlesex Superior Court in Cambridge, Mass. Geoghan, a convicted child molester who became a central figure in the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal, died Saturday, Aug. 23, 2003 after another inmate attacked him in prison, a state corrections spokeswoman said.

BALTIMORE (AP) A jury in Delaware has awarded $30 million in compensatory damages to John Vai, a man who claimed he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a boy in the 1960s.

One church abuse expert says it is by far the largest single verdict in a clergy sex abuse case.

Wednesday's judgment is also unique because the jury found that the St. Elizabeth's parish in Wilmington is partly responsible for the abuse and must pay $3 million of the compensatory damages.

Deliberations on punitive damages are set to begin Monday.

A judge previously found that Francis DeLuca was liable for the abuse of John Vai.

The 80-year-old was defrocked in 2008 after serving 60 days in a New York jail for repeatedly molesting his 18-year-old grandnephew.