March 18, 2005

Canadian diocese files for bankruptcy

Chicago Tribune

Tribune news services
Published March 18, 2005

CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of St. George is seeking bankruptcy protection against more than $40 million in sexual-abuse claims.

St. George's is the first Catholic diocese in Canada to make such a move, according to Catholic News Service. Three U.S. Catholic Dioceses--Portland, Ore., Tucson, Ariz., and Spokane, Wash.--have filed for bankruptcy in the face of millions of dollars in lawsuits.

St. George's Bishop Douglas Crosby said last week that more than $40 million in abuse claims have been filed against his diocese linked to the case of Kevin Bennett, a former priest who was convicted of sexually abusing several young men over two decades and served four years in prison.

A year ago, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the diocese was liable for the claims by people who said Bennett had molested them. So far, 36 people have filed abuse claims.

"No amount of money can compensate for the abhorrent taking of innocence," Crosby said in a statement announcing the bankruptcy filing. "We are determined to treat the victims fairly with the greatest possible value of our assets.

Posted by kshaw at March 18, 2005 07:21 AM