In the Spirit…

Wisconsin State Journal

In the Spirit: Madison Bishop Robert Morlino’s former diocese to file for bankruptcy

DOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal | | 608-252-6149

The Catholic Diocese of Helena, Mont., will file for bankruptcy reorganization Friday as part of its effort to resolve two lawsuits that claim clergy members sexually abused 362 people over several decades and the church covered it up.

Madison Bishop Robert Morlino served as bishop of the Helena diocese from 1999-2003. The lawsuits were filed in 2011 and relate to allegations of abuse from the 1940s to the 1970s, according to the Associated Press.

The allegations pre-date Morlino’s tenure in Helena, and he has not been brought into any conversations related to the lawsuits, said Brent King, spokesman for the Madison Catholic Diocese.

A statement released Friday by the Helena diocese said the details of the settlements are still being worked out but that $15 million would be available to compensate the currently identified victims, with additional settlement funds for other and unknown victims.

Morlino was bishop of Helena in 2002 when the national priest-abuse crisis broke. In a 2002 story in the (Helena) Independent Record, Morlino referenced allegations of abuse that pre-dated his arrival there.

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