July 12, 2005

Judge OKs Tuscon Diocese Bankruptcy Plan

TUCSON (AZ)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette

By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN
Associated Press Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. A judge approved a reorganization plan for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson on Monday, paving the way for it to become the first in the nation to emerge from bankruptcy.

Under the plan approved by Judge James Marlar, the diocese agreed to make available $22.2 million for settlements in claims of sex abuse by priests and church workers.

The abuse cases drove the diocese to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September shortly after the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., became the first in the nation to do so. Creditors could begin receiving payments in 60 days.

"I hope that today's decision by Judge Marlar will bring peace to those who have been harmed," said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas. "This diocese will never forget what happened to them, and we will do everything in our power to see to it that it does not happen again."

The pool to pay abuse victims' claims includes $14.8 million from insurers. Parishes will contribute $2 million; the diocese will provide $5.58 million of the settlement amount - all but $300,000 of that coming from a May auction of real estate holdings, said the Rev. Albert Schiafano.

Posted by kshaw at July 12, 2005 06:41 AM