May 28, 2005

Diocese says it can't use parishes to pay

Seattle Post-Intelligencer


SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane said Friday it does not own 81 parish churches and nearly 100 other assets - and cannot use them to pay alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests.

The diocese filed documents in U.S. Bankruptcy Court challenging the assertion by alleged victims that Bishop William Skylstad owns the 81 churches, 16 schools, one high school and 79 other Catholic assets in the sprawling region.

The diocese, which faces lawsuits filed by 58 alleged victims, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December, listing assets of $11.1 million and liabilities of $81.3 million - the vast majority being sexual abuse claims.

The diocese has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams to rule that Skylstad only controls the roughly $11 million worth of assets that belong specifically to the diocese.

"We are trying to resolve this Chapter 11 in a way that compensates those harmed by the church in the past," said Shaun Cross, an attorney for the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at May 28, 2005 08:23 AM