Local news

Diocese seeking legal mediation

The Catholic Diocese of Spokane has turned to mediation in hopes of resolving a host of legal appeals and other problems.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon, has been named mediator.

The diocese has been hit with scores of newly filed claims alleging sex abuse by clergy decades ago. The diocese, its parishes and insurers already paid a total of $48 million several years ago to settle abuse claims as part of its bankruptcy.

However, that settlement left open the possibility of new claims being filed. So far about two dozen alleged victims have come forward, and paying them has drained a special fund that must now be replenished and sparked a variety of legal disputes.

With lawyer fees mounting and appeals pending, the diocese said Monday that mediation may be the best way to settle the issues.

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