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Adventists to Pay to Settle Abuse Claims

June 05, 2005|From Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The Seventh-day Adventist Church has agreed to pay $3.5 million and alter its policies to settle lawsuits filed by five men who said they were molested by teachers when they were students at a church boarding school.

A spokesman for the Central California Conference of the Adventist Church said the church was "deeply saddened" by the lawsuit allegations and hoped the settlements would "bring closure for those involved."

The men claimed they were molested during the 1980s by two teachers who worked at the Monterey Bay Academy, which is near San Jose.

One of the teachers, Ronald Wittlake, shot himself to death when the accusations became public in 2003. The other, Lowell Nelson, has said the allegations are "absolutely not true."

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