College to buy 43 acres from archdiocese

Proceeds from Boston sale to pay abuse-scandal costs

April 21, 2004|By Elizabeth Mehren | Elizabeth Mehren,LOS ANGELES TIMES

BOSTON - As part of its plan to pay off settlement costs from the clerical sexual abuse scandal, the Boston Archdiocese announced yesterday that Boston College will purchase a 43-acre parcel of church land for $99.4 million.

The archdiocese's Brighton campus includes the mansion once occupied by Cardinal Bernard Law and other Boston archbishops. Law's successor, Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, has opted to live in a modest apartment adjacent to Boston's central-city cathedral.

The land, across from Boston College's main campus, will give the crowded Jesuit institution room to expand. The parcel is behind heavy iron gates off Commonwealth Avenue.

The archdiocese listed the property for sale late last year, and Boston College immediately expressed interest.

"While I am saddened that a large piece of our Brighton campus had to be sold. ... I am pleased that the offer by Boston College was the one that we accepted," O'Malley said yesterday. "It is good that we have been able to keep the property within the Catholic family."

The archdiocese and Boston College also reached an agreement in principle for the sale in two years of an additional portion of the Brighton campus for $8 million.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, an archdiocese spokesman, said yesterday that proceeds from the sale of the properties would help pay off loans taken out by the archdiocese to cover the abuse settlement costs.

The Boston church last year agreed to pay $90 million to 550 abuse victims. It is the largest-known settlement between an archdiocese and any group of clerical abuse survivors.

O'Malley pledged from the outset that he would not use collection money to pay for the costs of the abuse scandal. He said yesterday that he was pleased by the quick and highly public nature of the land sale. "It was very important for us as an archdiocese to clearly show how the funds for the settlement were raised," he said.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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