Montana Catholic officials say bankruptcy ‘best and only way’ to compensate the sexually abused

Billings Gazette


The recent bankruptcy filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings was the “best and only way” it could meet its obligations to all victims with sexual abuse claims and continue its ministry, church officials said.

The bankruptcy filing is part of mediation talks in mid-March in Seattle between attorneys representing 72 people with abuse claims, the diocese and its liability insurance carrier.

The bankruptcy is likely to be complicated and take time. How it could affect the diocese’s operations, along with parishes, schools and other church programs, is not yet clear.

But church officials and attorneys for the victims say they are working to reach a fair and equitable settlement for all claims and avoid fighting in costly and time-consuming jury trials.

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