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HARTFORD, Conn. — A hospital on Monday settled lawsuits with 32 people who say they were sexually abused by a prominent, now-dead doctor believed to have molested scores of children over three decades with a bogus human growth study.
The deal between the plaintiffs and St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford came during the middle of jury deliberations in the first of more than 90 lawsuits involving the late Dr. George Reardon to go to trial. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.
The hospital was accused of failing to properly monitor Reardon, who died in 1998 without ever facing criminal charges.
The abuse was revealed in 2007 when the owner of Reardon's former home in West Hartford opened a basement wall during a renovation project and found tens of thousands of slides and videos showing children in sexual acts and positions.
Police have identified 250 of Reardon's victims by name, but hundreds of other children in the pornographic images never came forward. Investigators believe Reardon victimized at least 500 children, but they also believe the number of victims could be in the thousands.
Police who interviewed the victims say many have struggled with broken relationships, substance-abuse problems, even suicide attempts.
Officials at the hospital had denied any responsibility for Reardon's actions.
"We believe that we have proven that Dr. Reardon was a master manipulator who deceived his patients, their parents and his colleagues," the hospital said in a statement. "We are prepared to prove that again in court, as necessary."
I just hope the systems in place today are better then what was in effect years ago.