New York – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced that it has reached an agreement to settle claims brought by five Texas plaintiffs against the Archdiocese and Holy Trinity Church of Dallas, Texas. The plaintiffs’ claims in this case relate to acts of sexual misconduct that were alleged to have been committed in the 1980s by Nicholas Katinas, former pastor of Holy Trinity. The settlement of this litigation was approved by the Archdiocese Executive Committee and made in order to avoid prolonged litigation and to promote healing for those affected by this tragedy.
By agreement of the plaintiffs and the Archdiocese and Holy Trinity Church, the amount of the settlement will remain confidential, which is a common practice in this type of settlement. The terms of the settlement do not release Mr. Katinas, who has been defrocked, from liability.
The Archdiocese and Holy Trinity Church had no knowledge of Mr. Katinasʼ wrongdoing prior to a complaint made to the Archdiocesan Chancellorʼs Office in late 2005, which stemmed from alleged misconduct by Katinas in the 1970s. The case was handled according to the protocols laid out in the Archdiocesan clergy misconduct policy. Katinas was suspended from all priestly functions after a prompt investigation of the charges, which found grounds to believe that very serious acts of misconduct had taken place. At the recommendation of the Holy Eparchial Synod of the Archdiocese, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has defrocked Katinas.
The Archdiocese acknowledges that Katinasʼ actions involve a most grave and tragic kind of misconduct, the abuse of children, and deeply regrets any harm that may have been caused to the people affected by Katinasʼ actions. We continue to pray for the healing of the five plaintiffs and to all others involved in this painful matter.
“An agreement in principle has been reached,” said Tahira Khan Merritt, lawyer for five plaintiffs, including former altar boys, who claimed they were abused by Mr. Katinas in the early years of his long tenure at Holy Trinity. “Itʼs subject to court approval.”
Later, a GOAA official came to Holy Trinity and acknowledged serious misconduct by Mr. Katinas. He has since been defrocked and is reportedly living in Greece.
“The victims feel like theyʼve done as much as they can to bring public exposure to Katinasʼ abuses,” Ms. Merritt said. “Without the lawsuit being filed and public exposure to these issues, in my opinion, Katinas would not have been defrocked.”
Mr. Katinas and the GOAA still face a more recently filed lawsuit filed in Chicago, alleging abuse by him while he worked for a church in the suburbs there.