Eastern Washington's Catholic community has raised most of the money needed to settle the clergy childhood sex abuse cases, surpassing expectations and ensuring that the diocese will emerge from bankruptcy. "This could have been very divisive," said Robert Hailey, of the Association of Parishes. "But in the end this was a fundraiser that brought people together. We're overwhelmed by their generosity."
EVERETT, Wash. – Two people who say they were abused by Roman Catholic priests in the 1950s have settled their lawsuits with the Archdiocese of Seattle for a total of $380,000. The first settlement involved an Everett-born man, identified in the lawsuit as M.P. to protect his privacy, who said he was abused by the Rev. Edward Boyle at Immaculate Conception Parish in Everett for 11 years, starting in 1956 when he was 14. Boyle is now dead.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane and its 82 parishes are sewing shut a devastating chapter for the Eastern Washington church.
Eastern Washington Catholics have donated $7 million of the $10 million parish pledge settling the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy. The money will fund payouts to people sexually abused decades ago by priests and other diocese agents.
Lawyers in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy case have agreed to shave about 5 percent from their legal bills, freeing up an extra $400,000 for payouts to clergy sex abuse victims. The agreement, if approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Patricia Williams, would end a fee dispute among several law firms and the U.S. Trustee's Office centering on how much the firms should be paid.
Bankruptcy lawyers who have billed the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane more than $10 million want to fight about the legitimacy of their fees in secret. It's an odd step for a high-profile case, where more than $10 million of a $48 million settlement is coming from the pews.
Bankruptcy lawyers and accounting professionals have billed the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane $10.1 million for 2 1/2 years of work. The fees reflect what diocese leaders and lawyers have said for many months – that while the case is among the most expensive legal endeavors in Spokane history, it is serving the purpose of settling all claims of sexual abuse by clergy and other diocese employees while allowing the church to continue its Eastern Washington ministry.
Although it's not the regular vestment for Lutheran clergy, Bishop Martin Wells often wears a clerical collar. The collar — frequently worn by Catholic and Episcopal priests — makes the church more public wherever he goes, said the leader of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It also makes him more approachable, he said, and invites people to enter into conversation.
A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has denied a Spokesman-Review request for access to records detailing millions of dollars in upcoming payouts from a trust to victims of priest sexual abuse in the Spokane Catholic Diocese, saying the claimants were promised confidentiality before agreeing to a legal settlement this spring. The battle over public access was argued Monday by lawyers for The Spokesman-Review, the diocese and various committees of people claiming sexual abuse. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams denied the newspaper's request in an oral ruling on Tuesday.
Bishop William Skylstad and other church officials signed documents for 11 hours Thursday and wired $20 million to a special trust – actions that allowed the Spokane Catholic Diocese to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The diocese now has essentially a clean slate, enabling it to continue its ministry in Eastern Washington, diocese attorney Shaun Cross said Friday.