Slain intern's family files suit against diocese

Reuters/December 13, 2006

Portland, Oregon - The Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, has settled most of the 175 sex abuse claims filed against it, bringing it closer to emerging from bankruptcy, judges involved in mediating the claims said on Monday.

The archdiocese was the first in the United States to file for bankruptcy facing claims of sex abuse by some of its clergy.

Without providing financial details of the settlement agreement, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan told reporters in Eugene, Oregon, the archdiocese's resources "are ample to fund this joint plan."

In July 2004, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy on the same day a lawsuit stemming from sex abuse allegations was set to begin trial. The lawsuit sought $135 million.

Before filing for bankruptcy, the archdiocese had paid more than $50 million to settle 130 abuse claims going back decades.

Sexual abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese have been intertwined with its bankruptcy effort because any payments it would make would determine its liabilities.

The agreement announced in Eugene settled some legal questions but more remain for the Portland archdiocese before it can emerge from bankruptcy.

Final terms of the agreement will be incorporated into a revised bankruptcy plan that is expected to be filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland on December 18.

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