January 21, 2005

Claimant lawyers want panel changed

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


SPOKANE -- Lawyers for people who contend they were sexually abused by Catholic priests are asking a federal bankruptcy judge to replace several members of a key panel with more victims, rather than people they view as church sympathizers.

The lawyers for 62 alleged victims said the so-called "claimants' committee" has too many Catholic Church "loyalists" who are unlikely to push the Catholic Diocese of Spokane to fairly compensate victims.

"The people on the committee are unrepresentative of the creditors at large," said Duane Rasmussen of Liberty Lake, an attorney for about a third of the victims.

The motion was filed this week with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams. No hearing date has been set.

The Spokane Diocese said yesterday that committee appointments were made by the Office of the U.S. Trustee of the bankruptcy court, which also appointed the committees in the recent bankruptcy filings of the Tucson Diocese and the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore.

Posted by kshaw at January 21, 2005 04:08 AM