Catholic Church Files for Bankruptcy 7, 2004

While the city of Spokane is racing to get out of federal court, the local Catholic Church is plunging head-long in, and now the fate of the Spokane Diocese rests in the hands of a federal judge.

One of the first things church attorneys did after filing chapter eleven today, was to file to protect the diocese 41 employees salaries.

It's still unknown how much insurers will give the diocese to pay abuse claims, still, most of the diocese financial information, both good and bad is now public.

The Catholic Diocese of Spokane estimates its net worth at just over 11-million. In the same court documents debts are detailed topping 81-million dollars.

Late Monday afternoon Bishop William Skylstad announced his diocese was officially following the Archdiocese of Portland the the Diocese of Tucson into bankruptcy.

The most explosive dollar figure laid bare today. The amount the diocese says sex abuse related suits are seeking 75-million dollars.

Survivor attorneys say their claims are realistic and angrily argue the diocese isn't calculating its parish and school properties into its net worth.

While the Bishop says bankruptcy is the best way to avoid a race to the courthouse by abuse-survivors, the action sets an end date of next April for all future claims. Anyone abused by a Spokane Diocese Priest has exactly 5 months to make themselves known to collect any damages.

And if you think bankruptcy is where all this will end, think again. Church Attorneys say they fully expect to go to appeals court or higher.

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