Bishop Says Abuse Scandal Could Force Diocese into Bankruptcy

By Judith R. Tackett
Associated Press, carried in KCRG [Iowa City IA]
October 1, 2004

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Bishop William Franklin says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport lacks the financial resources to compensate victims of alleged priest abuse and warned a settlement could force the church into bankruptcy.

Franklin also said no final decisions have been made for meeting the monetary demands set forth recently in negotiations with 37 men who claim they were sexually abused by priests in the last 50 years.

Franklin told more than 150 clergy and board members from parishes around the diocese Thursday that diocesan financial resources are limited. He says they are not adequate to compensate the victims for the amounts demanded.

The bishop says the diocese will make every effort to settle these cases, but Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be the only way to fairly and honorably compensate all victims.

The Davenport diocese, like others around the nation, has been hard hit in the last five years by sexual abuse lawsuits aimed at former priests, some dating back to the 1950s.


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