Facing Abuse Claims, Helena Diocese to File for Bankruptcy

Wall Street Journal

By Tom Corrigan

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena said Friday it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to resolve more than 350 sexual abuse claims.

The filing, expected later Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Butte, Mont., follows a mediation process that resulted in a settlement with insurers and the individuals who have brought sexual abuse claims against the diocese.

“Once the reorganization proceedings conclude, we will be able to plan confidently for future ministry for the people of the Church of the Diocese of Helena,” Helena Bishop George Leo Thomas said Friday in a statement.

Should a bankruptcy judge approve the settlement, the diocese would pay $15 million to currently identified holders of sexual abuse claims with additional funding set aside for others who may come forward with abuse claims in the future.

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