Diocesan lawyer raises possibility of bankruptcy over abuse payments

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nov. 1, 2019

By Peter Smith

An attorney for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh raised the prospect of bankruptcy in a court hearing Friday over whether the church can use a trust fund for needy children, worth more than $8 million, toward compensating victims of sexual abuse by priests.

Attorney Robert Ridge said during a hearing in Allegheny County Orphans Court that the diocese is looking at every available funding source to go toward a compensation fund for victims.

He told Orphans Court Administrative Judge Lawrence O’Toole that the diocese was asking for a determination now on whether the trust fund could be used because, if the diocese does need to file in bankruptcy court, the same question will come up there.

The hearing came in response to a challenge by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office over a petition by the diocesan-affiliated Catholic Institute of Pittsburgh to use the fund.

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