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Judge in bankruptcy case of archdiocese will stay

Sun., Dec. 25, 2005

PORTLAND – U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris has announced she will not recuse herself from the Portland Archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings after satisfactorily resolving a potential conflict of interest, Oregon Public Radio reported.

The Catholic archdiocese filed for bankruptcy last year in the face of mounting sex abuse claims. This week, the case nearly ground to a halt when Perris said she may need to step down from the case because of a possible conflict of interest.

Perris made public that she once shared a law practice with a former attorney for the archdiocese. But on Friday, Perris said that evidence showed her former law partner had not provided significant advice, OPB reported.

Perris is expected to rule shortly on the legal status of Roman Catholic parishes in Oregon.

Attorneys for the archdiocese argue that under church law, Archbishop John Vlazny does not have the right to sell parish property to pay for clergy sex abuse claims. Lawyers for the alleged victims argue that federal law trumps church law.

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