July 10, 2005

Diocese abuse victims speak as bankruptcy case nears end

Arizona Daily Star

By Stephanie Innes

As lawyers negotiated a morass of numbers and deals in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson's bankruptcy reorganization during the last nine months, those at the center of the case were mostly silent.

Now that the case is coming to a close, many of the people who say they were abused as children by local clergy members feel a sense of vindication and freedom.

Fifty-four who say they were affected by the sexual-abuse crisis are scheduled to receive initial payments of $15,000 to $600,000 for incidents that took place as far back as the 1950s and as recently as 2002. The money for settlements is expected to come from insurance, parish contributions and real estate sales.

A majority of creditors approved the diocese's bankruptcy plan Friday. Confirmation hearings begin Monday. Pending approval from federal bankruptcy Judge James M. Marlar, Tucson will become the first Catholic diocese in the country to complete a Chapter 11 reorganization, possibly this month.

"I have finally been heard as a survivor of clergy sexual abuse," said 36-year-old Troy Gray, who says he was molested by the Rev. Kevin Barmasse, who led youth groups at local Catholic churches in the 1980s.

Posted by kshaw at July 10, 2005 08:25 AM