In San Francisco,

Archdiocese Settles

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Archdiocese of San Francisco agreed Friday to settle 15 lawsuits involving allegations of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests for $21.2 million, the church said.

Under the settlement brokered by a retired judge who is still mediating about 40 cases, the archdiocese will pay out $6.6 million, with the rest coming from its insurers. Several other cases have gone to trial.

Ten of the 15 cases involved allegations against one San Jose priest, the Rev. Joseph Pritchard, who died in 1988. Besides Pritchard, other former priests who were named in the lawsuits include three who served in the San Jose-area during the 1970s -- the Revs. Leonel Noia, Arthur Harrison and Gregory Ingels, Maurice Healy, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said.

The Seattle Archdiocese, meanwhile, agreed to pay $1.7 million to settle four cases of alleged sexual abuse by two priests. One of the accusers, Jeff Alfieri, committed suicide in the parking lot of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Bellevue two years ago. His beneficiaries will receive $600,000.

* FORT RILEY, Kan. -- A military jury found Army Sgt. Aaron Stanley, 23, of Bismark, N.D., guilty of premeditated murder in the shootings of two fellow soldiers last year. Stanley could be sentenced to life in prison in the deaths of Staff Sgt. Matthew Werner, 30, of Oxnard, Calif., and Spec. Christopher D. Hymer, 23, of Nevada, Mo., at his farmhouse near Fort Riley in September. Stanley argued he acted in self-defense and to protect Sgt. Eric Colvin, 23, of Papillion, Neb., who also was there, but prosecutors said he shot the two men to keep hidden an illegal drug trafficking operation, believing the victims were Fort Riley police informers.

* CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- A Marine whose gun went off while he was cleaning it, killing a comrade in Afghanistan, was sentenced in absentia to 12 years in prison. Lance Cpl. Frederico Pimienta, 23, was convicted Thursday of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Lance Cpl. Russell White, who was shot in the head last year. Pimienta left the base without permission before the trial, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

* OKLAHOMA CITY -- A hydraulic line on a commuter jet ruptured after the plane landed, spraying passengers inside the cabin with fluid and prompting an emergency evacuation. No one was seriously injured on the Mesaba Airlines flight from Memphis, authorities said.

* CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- A Ku Klux Klansman helped build seven pipe bombs that he was told would be rigged to vehicles used by a group of Haitians and in another instance Hispanic workers, a federal agent testified. Investigators said they had an informer pose as a man sympathetic to the Klan to catch Daniel J. Schertz, 27, in a scheme to make the explosives.

* BOCA RATON, Fla. -- A tractor-trailer slammed into a bus taking 25 children of migrant workers to an amusement arcade, seriously injuring five of them, police said.

-- From News Services