For years, the man identified in court documents as John Doe 187 said he harbored thoughts of suicide - crippled by a "dark anger that was suffocating my soul." The depression eased, he said, after he approached lawyers with allegations that a Philadelphia priest had abused him when he was a child, and he said he was prepared to testify against the priest at trial.

That never happened. The man's lawsuit, filed in 2011 against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was settled last month - less than two months after the church settled a suit filed by another man who alleged that he, too, had been sexually abused as a boy by a priest.

The settlements, announced Wednesday by the men's lawyers, are the first reached since a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury investigation of clergy sex-abuse allegations. The settlement amounts were not disclosed.

The accusers - the other one is John Doe 10 - have chosen to remain anonymous. The details of their claims will remain confidential, sealed by a court order.

"It is still a painful struggle, but I am now looking ahead instead of back," Doe 187 said in a statement distributed by his lawyers. "I now have hope for a better future."

The archdiocese had vowed to fight the accusations in court, just as it had successfully defeated similar claims for decades, citing Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

Instead, the suits brought by Doe 187 and Doe 10 - filed before they turned 30 and, thus, within the statute of limitations - were quietly settled.

"For some time now, the archdiocese has provided assistance to both men on their paths toward healing, including financial support in the form of payment for ongoing psychological treatment," a spokesman for the archdiocese said in a statement Wednesday. "In order to help all parties move forward, the archdiocese has agreed to these settlements."

No parish funds or funds intended to support charitable works were used for the settlements, he said.

Doe 187, a former altar boy at Incarnation of Our Lord parish in North Philadelphia, alleged that the Rev. William Ayres abused him inside the church and rectory when Ayres was a seminarian from 1996 to 1999.

Doe 10 said the Rev. Martin Satchell lured him to concealed areas of a classroom and bathroom at St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr and sexually abused him as a teenager.

Both cases occurred in the 1990s, lawyers for the two men said.

Satchell was removed from the priesthood in 1993. Ayres was suspended from his duties at two North Philadelphia parishes - St. Michael and Immaculate Conception - in 2010. Neither was ever charged with a crime because the statute of limitations had expired by the time the men reported the abuse.

"Nobody ever recovers from this kind of sexual abuse," said Dan Monahan, attorney for one of men. "But fortunately, both of these young men have really gained a certain amount of power and are no longer living in silence.

"They have moved on with their lives. They are stronger as a result of stepping forward," he said. "They are stronger as a result of filing these suits. And I think they feel a somewhat small sense of justice in having these cases resolved."

Satchell, who was defrocked in 2005, had been removed from duty at St. Raymond of Penafort in the city's Germantown section in 1993. He later taught history at the Haverford School from 1997 to 2000. Haverford officials, in 2005, said they had no knowledge of the earlier complaint against Satchell.

Satchell is believed to reside in North Philadelphia, Monahan said, while Ayres is believed to be living in Guatemala.

The Philadelphia cases were among thousands that have come to light in recent years, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements paid by the Catholic Church in Boston, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other dioceses.

In 2011, the Diocese of Wilmington agreed to pay $77 million to settle more than 150 claims of sexual abuse. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy in 2011 after paying $29 million to settle almost 200 claims.

Marci Hamilton, an attorney for Doe 187 and Doe 10, said a confidentiality agreement prevented her from disclosing the amount of the settlements. But, she added, "these were the kind of settlements you see in other cities."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has said it paid $1.45 million for counseling and legal settlements to an undisclosed number of victims between 1950 and 2002. More recent figures were not immediately available.

Hamilton said 17 sexual-abuse lawsuits were filed against the archdiocese after the grand jury's 2011 findings. Most were withdrawn because they were outside the statute of limitations, she said, adding that the archdiocese had "played hardball" in every instance.

The Doe lawsuits contended that the archdiocese had a long history of protecting sexually abusive priests. In its statement Wednesday, the archdiocese said it has "a sincere desire to help survivors on their path to healing."

Doe 187, for his part, said he "continued to struggle with the shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, and depression" after disclosing the abuse. Still, he urged others to follow him in seeking recompense in the courts.

"It was extremely hard for me to share this secret, and I am making this statement to encourage survivors to come forward," he said. "Your privacy can be protected the way my privacy is and continues to be protected."

215-854-2928 @MattGelb