Catholic diocese forks out $1.2m after Spotlight lawyer accuses leaders of abuse cover up

A Catholic diocese in Maine has paid $1.2 million to victims of sex abuse after six men brought a lawsuit against the Church.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland settled the case after the men accused senior figures of concealing sex abuse allegations against former priest. Rev James Vallely, who died in 1997 aged 75, was abused the men when they were children decades ago, according the lawyer Mitchell Garabedian.

Some of the men were as young as eight years old when they were first abused, reported the Portland Press Herald.

Garabedian, who was played by Stanley Tucci in the Oscar-winning film Spotlight, said the diocese had known about the allegations but did not remove Vallely from his position. Instead he was transferred to another parish "where children were placed at risk of further sexual abuse by a serial pedophile priest."

"We have another instance of the diocese hiding the truth for the sake of its appearance and monetary concerns," he told the Press Herald.

A spokesman for the diocese refused to adderss the charges directly but said it hopes the settlement "brings a measure of peace to the people involved,"

Spokesman Dave Guthro said: "The diocese respects the privacy and confidentiality of the victims/survivors involved in cases of sexual abuse of minors by clerics."