Agreement in Ore. Priest Abuse Case

By Jeff Barnard
Jackson News - Tribune
December 11, 2006

Eugene, Ore. - About 150 people who claimed they were molested by priests have agreed to settle their lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland for an undisclosed amount.

The judge said the archdiocese has more than $50 million from settling litigation with insurance companies, plus sufficient real estate and other assets of its own to cover the claims.

Three other dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; and Davenport, Iowa — also have sought bankruptcy court protection from a flood of lawsuits by people alleging sexual abuse by priests. Tucson emerged from the process in 2005.

"These are expensive lessons," Hogan said. "All of our hope is, including the archdiocese, is that they have been learned."

David Clohessy, National Director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who is not a party of the agreement, said in a statement that he hoped the agreement would bring healing to the victims.

Despite the agreement, there's still work to be done in the archdiocese's bankruptcy case.

The bankruptcy case has pitted the federal courts against church law, or canon law, over the ownership of church property.

Hogan said the archdiocese will be reorganized so that the parishes and schools will be legally separated.


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