Helena diocese seeks bankruptcy judge’s approval of key piece of sex-abuse settlement

The Republic

By MATT VOLZ Associated Press
August 28, 2014

HELENA, Montana — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena is asking a judge to approve an agreement with its insurers that would provide the bulk of the funding for a proposed settlement with hundreds of people who say they were sexually abused by clergy.

The plan would allow the insurers to buy back their policies from the diocese for $10.9 million, which would go toward the $15 million proposed settlement with 362 people who sued the diocese in 2011 over sexual abuse from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Those plaintiffs say the diocese knew or should have known the abuse was happening but did nothing to protect the children in the schools and parishes in western Montana at that time.

The diocese’s insurers had filed separate legal challenges over which claims they are obligated to cover. This deal would settle those challenges and permanently bar anybody else from coming forward with sexual abuse claims related to those insurance policies.

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