Great Falls Tribune
Seaborn Larson, Great Falls Tribune March 31, 2017
An attorney representing nearly half of the 72 survivors who suffered sexual abuse and rape at the hands of priests and nuns in rural Montana say the church’s decision to file for bankruptcy is a step in the right direction.
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court, effectively setting in motion the process to reorganize its assets toward a settlement in a lawsuit in which more than 20 religious community leaders sexually abused at least 72 victims in eastern Montana over the course of several decades.
Vito de la Cruz, an attorney with Tamaki Law representing 34 of the 72 victims, said the bankruptcy filing marks an incremental win for his clients. He said he expects the diocese to begin negotiating an appropriate financial settlement with the court in August or September of this year.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.
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