Bankruptcy Timeline

Tucson Citizen
September 20, 2004

Sept. 20 2004
Diocese files for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tucson.

August 2004
Bishop Gerald Kicanas holds a mandatory meeting with all parish priests and pastors to brief them on a possible bankruptcy filing by the diocese. Bankruptcy lawyers retained by the diocese to advise it are made available to parish leaders to answer questions about bankruptcy and how it might affect church operations. Kicanas advises parish priests that each parish should retain counsel regarding a possible bankruptcy. Kicanas says a decision will be made by mid-September.

The Vatican informs the Tucson diocese that the pope has agreed to remove two of its priests, Monsignor Robert Trupia and the Rev. Michael Teta, from the priesthood.

July 2004
The Archdiocese of Portland files for bankruptcy protection, becoming the first Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to file for Chapter 11 protection.

A Tucson man files a lawsuit against the Tucson diocese, the archdiocese of Santa Fe, Kicanas, former Tucson Bishop Manuel Moreno and the chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, accusing them of violating federal racketeering laws by moving priests who abused minors to other states to shield them from possible litigation or criminal charges.

William Rubin, an attorney for the diocese of Tucson, says the diocese's willingness to pay victims of sexual misconduct more than what the diocese's insurers will pay is helping to push the diocese toward bankruptcy. Rubin said the diocese does not have assets to pay present and future claims of sexual misconduct and abuse.

Thousands of parishioners are told in parish newsletters and by their priests and pastors that bankruptcy appears likely for the diocese. The diocese tells parish priests it was listing its parish properties and must tally them as part of an effort to determine the value of all its assets.

June 2004
Kicanas begins a public dialogue through the media and with parishioners on the issue of bankruptcy as a way to "respond fairly" to those who have been harmed by priests and others employed by the diocese, and to those who have yet to file claims against the diocese or ask for money for counseling or damages.

February 2004
In a letter to parishioners and others posted on the diocese Web site, Kicanas publishes the names of priests and others accused of "credible allegations of sexual misconduct." The allegations date back to 1950 and name 26 priests who at one time served the Tucson diocese. Some are dead.

October 2003
The diocese reports a $7 million deficit. Auditors note that it is impossible to know the cost of present and future litigation to the diocese and indicate the diocese may not be able to operate as it has while litigating claims against it.

September 2003
To raise money to pay claimants, the diocese sells several properties, including its offices downtown, which it then leases.

August 2003
Families of five girls are paid $1.8 million in an out-of-court settlement in connection with molestation by a teacher at a diocese school in Yuma.

March 2003
Bishop Manuel Moreno retires, citing health reasons. Moreno, 72, has prostate cancer and Parkinson's disease. Moreno led the diocese for 21 years and had apologized to Tucson Catholics for his handling of the priest sex abuse cases. Kicanas, 61, succeeds him. Kicanas came to the Tucson Diocese from Chicago, his birthplace, in 2001 as co-adjutor bishop here on Oct. 30 after the first sex abuses cases were filed against the diocese. He was ordained bishop March 7, 2003.

January 2003
Kicanas and Moreno acknowledge publicly that bankruptcy is a possible option for the diocese.

January 2002
In an out-of-court settlement with 10 victims, 11 lawsuits are settled for an estimated $15 million.

The first civil suit is filed against the diocese alleging sexual misconduct by a priest. Donnie Frei claims the Rev. Robert Trupia molested him.

Early 1990s
The diocese pays $155,00 to eight claimants who said they were sexually abused by priests. The matter is resolved without lawsuits.


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