April 14, 2007 in City

Archdiocese settlement to be confirmed

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

PORTLAND – The first bankruptcy of a Catholic diocese in the United States neared an end Friday as a judge said she would confirm a settlement that could reach $75 million for victims who claimed priests or other church officials sexually abused them.

The decision from U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris leaves intact the compensation proposed in a plan negotiated by the plaintiffs and the archdiocese.

She asked lawyers to make one change and draw up final documents for her approval.

At the same time, the federal and state judges who oversaw the case scheduled a press conference in Portland on Tuesday to discuss “completion of the bankruptcy case.” A gag order remained in effect for parties in the case.

About 175 people who say they were molested by priests or other church officials have agreed to settle their cases for about $52 million, which insurance companies will pay the church, according to Perris’ order.

Another $20 million has been set aside for those who come forward after an agreed deadline. Another sum, capped at $3.8 million, has been set aside to pay for claims that haven’t been settled in the bankruptcy negotiations.

The overall plan was drawn to avoid the sale of archdiocese property.

“Debtor established that it will receive $52 million in insurance proceeds, that it has access to $40 million from Allied Irish Bank, and that it has additional unrestricted assets on which it can draw if necessary,” Perris’ decision said.

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