February 15, 2006

Question rises over sex abuse claims cap

The Oregonian

Wednesday, February 15, 2006
A federal bankruptcy judge said Tuesday that she did not think she had the legal authority to set a cap on the amount of money the Portland Archdiocese will have to pay more than 100 people who claim they were molested by priests.

The cap is a key issue in a proposal by the archdiocese to emerge from bankruptcy.

The archdiocese plan estimates that about $40 million will cover all the pending claims. In a hearing Tuesday, a church lawyer acknowledged that Catholic officials want the court to set a maximum limit to provide the certainty needed to allow the archdiocese to get out of bankruptcy and continue its charitable and educational missions.

Judge Elizabeth Perris said she will make a ruling in about 10 days, but said she thought she would have to refer the question of a cap to a federal District Court judge.

Perris also said she thought a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling prevented her from inoculating the archdiocese from potential punitive damages.

Posted by kshaw at February 15, 2006 07:30 AM