October 11, 2005

Spokane Church Forced to Sell Bishop's Home


By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press
October 11, 2005

SPOKANE -- The Catholic Diocese of Spokane would sell its headquarters and the home of Bishop William Skylstad to settle claims of people who contend they were sexually abused by priests, according to a reorganization plan the diocese filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

But the issue of who owns individual parishes, schools and other Catholic property in the diocese is still unresolved, so the plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy carries few specifics on the amount of money that would be available for victims.

Lawyers for victims called the plan another delay tactic by the diocese, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last December, listing $11.1 million in assets and $81.3 million in liabilities, mostly sexual abuse claims.

"Instead of bringing closure to the bankruptcy case, the diocese's plan and disclosure statement promise years of fruitless court appeals and legal expense," said a joint statement issued by lawyers for sexual abuse victims who have filed lawsuits and those who have not.

Posted by kshaw at October 11, 2005 06:21 AM