Tuesday, February 1, 2011
The Omaha Archdiocese has settled a civil lawsuit stemming from allegations of sex abuse against the Rev. John M. Fiala, a former archdiocesan priest.
Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese, said Friday that after participating in court-ordered mediation in Texas, the archdiocese and the Diocese of Corpus Christi agreed to share in a settlement amount that will be paid by their insurance carrier.
McNeil said the terms of the settlement are not being disclosed at the request of the plaintiff.
The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) and the Archdiocese of San Antonio were also named in the lawsuit. SOLT, a society of apostolic life located in Texas, settled with the plaintiff on Thursday. The Archdiocese of San Antonio settled Tuesday.
"The Archdiocese of Omaha was a willing participant in the settlement because it was not clear that all appropriate information was shared when Fiala left the archdiocese in 1996 to join SOLT," McNeil said.
In a separate case, the San Antonio Archdiocese settled a similar civil lawsuit involving Fiala for nearly $1 million. That settlement was disclosed this week. The Omaha Archdiocese was not part of that agreement.
Fiala, 52, has been jailed in Dallas County, Texas, on criminal charges that he solicited someone to kill his accuser in that case.
He was ordained in Omaha in 1984 and ministered in the Omaha Archdiocese until 1996.
In the spring of 2002, the Omaha Archdiocese received a complaint that Fiala had made sexual advances against a minor sometime in the 1980s. The minor “purportedly refused” the advances, the archdiocese has said.
The archdiocese said it notified the Sarpy County Attorney’s Office and Fiala’s religious superior in Texas, as well as the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan., where Fiala was serving at the time. No charge was filed.