February 1, 2014 Comments Off on Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy protection
Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy protection
Matt Volz, Associated Press January 31, 2014
HELENA, Montana (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena planned to file for bankruptcy protection Friday as part of a proposed settlement of $15 million for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up.
Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said the bankruptcy reorganization plan comes after confidential mediation sessions with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and insurers, resulting in the deals to resolve the abuse claims.
The settlement details are being worked out, but the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15 million to compensate the 362 victims identified in the two lawsuits.
In addition, at least $2.5 million will be set aside for victims who come forward later, Bartleson said….
The Helena diocese is the 11th in the nation to seek bankruptcy protection in the face of sex-abuse claims
The two lawsuits filed in 2011 claim clergy members groomed and then abused the children from the 1940s to the 1970s. They claim the diocese shielded the offenders and knew or should have known the threat they posed to children….
In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiffs said they were repeatedly raped, fondled or forced to perform sexual acts while at school, on the playground, on camping trips or at the victims’ homes.
The second lawsuit, filed a week after the first in 2011, contained similar allegations against priests, but also alleged that nuns at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius abused dozens of Native American children….