February 02, 2005

Sonoma County priest abuse lawsuits may be settled


SANTA ROSA, Calif. Ten remaining lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Sonoma County priests could be resolved in talks set to begin Monday.

But any settlements could cost the Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese millions of dollars and force it into bankruptcy.

Santa Rosa's cases are first in line for court-ordered mediation efforts of about 160 civil suits against Santa Rosa and seven other dioceses.

Whether any of the local cases will be settled and how much it might cost is unknown. But Santa Rosa Bishop Daniel Walsh has warned 150-thousand North Coast Catholics that a "single large verdict" could prompt the diocese to file for bankruptcy.

Posted by kshaw at February 2, 2005 06:04 PM