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Diocese Bankrupted By Sex Abuse Claims

LOS ANGELES: The United States Catholic diocese of Portland, Oregon, has announced it will become the first in the US to file for bankruptcy as it buckles under the weight of multimillion- dollar sex abuse lawsuits.
Archbishop John Vlazny took the step as two cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests were set to go to trial. In one of the cases, the plaintiff is demanding more than $182.6 million in damages, while another is seeking $34.7 million.
"We have made every effort to settle these claims fairly, but the demand of each of these plaintiffs remains in the millions. I am committed to just compensation," the archbishop said. "These demands go beyond compensation. With 60 other claims pending, I cannot in justice and prudence pay the demands of these two."
The diocese had settled more than 100 claims in the past four years, paying out $29 million in the past 12 months.
Pending cases will now go under the control of a bankruptcy court.

Adelaide Advertiser (8-7-2004)

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