March 04, 2005

Mandatory Settlement Conference Ordered In Oakland Diocese Abuse Cases


POSTED: 8:07 pm PST March 3, 2005

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw has ordered a mandatory settlement conference to be held on Monday for 54 sexual abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland.

Sabraw is overseeing more than 150 lawsuits in a mega case alleging sexual abuse by priests throughout Northern California. He said in his order released today that insurance companies for the Roman Catholic Bishop of Oakland must attend the settlement conference "with full authority personally to act on these claims and cases."

The settlement conference is set for 9 a.m. Monday before Judge David Hunter in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward.

Diocese of Oakland spokesman Father Mark Wiesner said the diocese's attorney, Stephen McFeely, told him that the mandatory settlement conference will take precedence over a sex abuse trial that had been scheduled to start in Hayward on Monday.

That trial and a trial set to begin in San Francisco are to be the first church negligence civil trials stemming from a 2002 state law that temporarily lifted the statute of limitations on damage claims against institutions such as religious organizations that allegedly gave known child molesters access to more victims.

Posted by kshaw at March 4, 2005 05:48 AM