NEWS RELEASE – Bankruptcy Path to Settlement of Sex Abuse Claims Against Diocese of Great Falls – Billings

James, Vernon and Weeks, P.A.


Leander James (Cell 208 818-6775)
Craig Vernon Cell (208-691-2768)
James Vernon & Weeks P.A.
1626 Lincoln Way
Coeur D’Alene, ID 83814
Tel: (208) 667-0683
Fax: (208) 664-1684

(Great Falls, Montana – March 31, 2017.) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings filed bankruptcy today as a step toward settling 72 lawsuits seeking monetary and non-monetary redress for claims of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic priests, nuns and lay workers from the 1950s through 1990s.

The filing automatically stays any further action in the lawsuits and paves the way for a global settlement and payment of claims through the bankruptcy court. The first cases were scheduled for trial in July.

The Catholic Church uses bankruptcy laws that allow corporations to continue doing business after paying off their creditors to shed itself of child sexual abuse claims and continue to operate. This is the 15th Diocesan bankruptcy in the United States, falling in the wake of the Diocese of Helena bankruptcy in 2015 and the Northwest Jesuit bankruptcy in 2012.

“While we had hoped to obtain justice for our clients at trial,” said Attorney Leander James, “we are hopeful that the Diocese bankruptcy will result in non-monetary terms for the protection of children and monetary recognition of the tragedies endured by victims.”

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