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Thursday, October 29, 2009 - 6:40am

Church To Pay $4.2 Million In Sex Case

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah will pay $4.2 million to a 40-year-old man who says he was sexually abused by a former priest.

Diocesan officials announced the settlement Wednesday.

Savannah native Allan Ranta sued the church in 2008, claiming former priest Wayland Brown molested him from 1978 to 1983, when Ranta was 10 to 14 years old.

At the time, Brown was associate pastor and Ranta a student at St. James Catholic School in Savannah. Ranta's lawsuit claimed the Diocese ignored signs that Brown was a danger to students.

Later, in 2003, a Maryland court found Brown guilty of molesting two boys, ages 12 and 13, also about 30 years ago. He was in prison for five years when he was released on parole. A Maryland sex offender registry lists him with a Baltimore address.

A diocesan statement says, the church reached a settlement "to avoid the expense and burden of a lengthy trial by all parties."

"I am sorry for all the pain and suffering experienced by Mr. Ranta and my prayers go out not only to him, but to all victims of child sexual abuse that each may find the healing they seek," says Bishop J. Kevin Boland.

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