May 19, 2006

Judge rejects settlement in church sex abuse case

Gainesville Sun

The Associated Press
May 19. 2006 6:01AM

A federal judge rejected a $45.7-million settlement Thursday for 75 people who have filed sex abuse claims against the bankrupt Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams threw out the agreement during a telephone conference hearing. The judge urged the dozens of lawyers representing the diocese, victims, parishes and other parties to enter into mediation.

The deal, announced earlier this year, was controversial from the start because it covered only a fraction of those who had filed lawsuits contending they were abused by priests in Spokane. About 185 individual claims have been filed against the diocese, although Williams has said some are duplicates and others are invalid.

"I think the elements of the settlement we proposed with the 75 victims still have merit. The judge clearly found concerns with some elements," said Shaun Cross, a lawyer representing the diocese.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2006 07:14 AM