SAN DIEGO (CA)
December 27, 2017
Representatives of sex abuse victims and their survivors are suing a bankrupt Roman Catholic diocese in Montana in an effort to ensure more than $70 million in assets are available for those abused by church officials.
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings entered bankruptcy protection in March as part of settlements involving more than 400 people in sex abuse lawsuits. Church officials said at the time the diocese and its insurers would contribute to a fund to compensate victims and set aside additional money for those who had yet to come forward.
Mediation has not produced a settlement so far.
A committee of unsecured creditors representing eight sex abuse survivors sued the diocese in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week, aiming to reach a negotiated settlement. California attorney James Stang, who represents the committee, said the complaint was “part of the process,” the Billings Gazette reported.
U.S. Catholic leaders have been grappling with a clergy sexual abuse crisis that exploded in 2002 following reporting by The Boston Globe. Nationwide, the church has paid several billion dollars in settlements since 1950. More than 6,500 clergy members have been accused of abuse and hundreds have been removed from church work.
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