July 19, 2007 in Nation/World

Property sales, loans will help L.A. archdiocese pay victims

Rebecca Trounson and John Spano Los Angeles Times

Related news

Miami lawsuit settled

» MIAMI – The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami has settled a lawsuit in which a former altar boy claimed he was sexually abused by the same priest accused by former Congressman Mark Foley. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

» The lawsuit was not connected to Foley, who resigned in scandal last year.

» The unnamed plaintiff claims the Rev. Anthony Mercieca sexually abused him in the 1970s when he was an altar boy at St. James Church in North Miami. The accuser, then about 13 years old, said Mercieca molested him in the church’s bell tower after a bicycle ride together.

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Archdiocese plans to pay its share of a record clergy sexual-abuse settlement by liquidating investments, taking out bank loans and selling as many as 50 non-parish properties, including its administrative headquarters, according to diocesan attorneys and other officials.

Many details of the financial arrangements were still being worked out, officials said, with the $660 million settlement formalized in a Los Angeles courtroom Monday.

But some aspects have emerged, as the archdiocese readies to pay its portion of the bill, an amount totaling at least $250 million and up to $373 million.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and others have said the church, which drained its litigation reserve fund in payouts for a partial clergy-abuse settlement in December, will try to avoid harming “essential ministries” of the church and does not plan to sell any parish or school properties.

Still, the archdiocese, the most populous in the country, “will have to be a much leaner operation than it is now,” church attorney J. Michael Hennigan said. “The liquidity it has comes from investments that produce income that supports diocesan operations.”

The archdiocese promised victims $250 million and agreed to guarantee payment of an additional $123 million in the event a number of religious orders, which are not yet part of the agreement, do not agree to pay. The church’s insurers will pay $227 million, and religious orders will pay $60 million.

The first property to go on the market appeared likely to be a 12-story building that houses offices for the archdiocese’s central administration, ministries and other services.

The church’s downtown landmark, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, which cost $189.5 million to build, would not be included in any property sales, according to church officials.

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