February 14, 2006

Plaintiffs to church: Pay in full

The Oregonian

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Priest sex-abuse plaintiffs on Monday asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to force the Archdiocese of Portland to pay all their claims without limit -- a figure that past verdicts indicate could be as high as $245 million for about 110 men and women with pending accusations.

The committee that represents the plaintiffs, however, says the actual figure is expected to be much lower than $245 million and can be funded without having to sell any churches, schools or cemeteries.

Instead, the plaintiffs contend that the initial payments would come mostly from the archdiocese's bank accounts and its insurance companies. Moreover, many plaintiffs are expected to settle for lower amounts rather than go to trial.

The plaintiffs' proposal is the heart of a plan to reorganize the archdiocese, pay off creditors and allow the church to emerge from bankruptcy. In July 2004, the archdiocese became the first and largest Catholic diocese to file for Chapter 11 reorganization in the face of multimillion-dollar sex-abuse lawsuits.

Under bankruptcy proceedings, both the creditors and the debtor have the opportunity to make recommendations on how the debtor should use the assets to pay the bills.

Posted by kshaw at February 14, 2006 07:15 AM