Ad Campaign Will Seek out Clergy Abuse Victims

By Stephanie Innes
Fox 11 [Tucson AZ]
November 4, 2004

An advertising campaign aimed at anyone who was molested by a Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson priest as a child is expected to begin this month.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge James M. Marlar on Wednesday gave a preliminary stamp of approval to claims forms and public notices that will be advertised nationally and in Mexico in an effort to reach potential abuse victims by April 15, 2005 - the deadline for filing any claims against the Diocese.

Marlar is expected to approve a Spanish version of the forms within the week.

The diocese filed for federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sept. 20 in the face of 22 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by clergy members who worked here. The cases have been temporarily stayed while the diocese is in the bankruptcy process.

At an estimated cost of $60,000, the diocese is attempting to get the word out that anyone who is seeking compensation for past abuse by priests needs to step forward by the deadline date. The deadline, which Marlar said is necessary for the reorganization, will not apply to those with who repressed memories of past abuse.

According to court documents, the public notices are scheduled to appear in USA Today; the Los Angeles Times; The Denver Post; El Imparcial, in Hermosillo, Son.; The Arizona Republic, the Tucson Citizen and the Arizona Daily Star, as well as several other Western newspapers.

Also on Wednesday, Marlar appointed local attorney A. Bates Butler III, former U.S. attorney for Arizona, as a future claims representative in the case. Butler will act on behalf of people who claim they were sexually abused by local clergy as children but are unaware of the molestation because of repressed memory.

Marlar also appointed Phoenix attorney and former Maricopa County Public Fiduciary Charles L. Arnold as guardian ad litem in the case, which means he will act on behalf of children who have been sexually abused by local diocesan clergy.

Under federal Chapter 11 reorganization, the debtor typically is allowed to continue operations under court supervision until some plan of reorganization is approved by two-thirds of its creditors.


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