December 25, 2017
By Jardine Malado
Attorneys for victims of sex abuse have filed a lawsuit against a bankrupt Catholic diocese in Montana last week to ensure that more than $70 million in assets will be available to their clients.
A committee representing eight sex abuse victims filed a complaint against the diocese of Great Falls-Billings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 18 in an attempt to reach a negotiated settlement in the dispute over the matter of $70 million worth of diocesan assets.
According to Fox News, the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in March as part of sex abuse settlements in a lawsuit involving over 400 victims.
The officials said at the time that the diocese and its insurers would set up a fund for the victims and additional money will be provided for those who have yet to come forward.
Church officials have contended that the disputed assets should not be made available because they are held in trust for diocese’s parishes and thus not part of the bankruptcy estate.
Attorneys for the victims argued that the parishes are not separate legal entities from the diocese and therefore have no exclusive claims to the trust.
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