April 18, 2006

Archdiocese Sex Abuse Cases Head for Court

Houston Chronicle

By WILLIAM McCALL Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. A judge cleared the way Monday for nearly 130 sex abuse claims to go to trial, almost two years after the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland filed for bankruptcy.

The archdiocese and the alleged victims have been unable to agree on terms of a settlement, and Monday was the deadline for deciding whether to go to court.

Nearly 40 cases are headed to state court, and 88 alleged victims chose to have their cases heard in federal court, said Erin Olson, attorney for several accusers.

The archdiocese became the nation's first Catholic diocese to declare bankruptcy in July 2004. Its reorganization plan, which must include an estimate of how much it will pay for the claims, is subject to approval by creditors _ the alleged victims _ and the court.

"We just want to proceed and get this done with as much accuracy as possible," archdiocese attorney Susan Ford said.

The archdiocese said in court papers last year that it had hoped to settle all the claims for about $42 million.

Posted by kshaw at April 18, 2006 07:07 AM