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Iowa Diocese Files for Bankruptcy After Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Earlier this month the Roman Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa filed for bankruptcy after paying out millions of dollars to settle dozens of sex abuse claims, making it the fourth diocese in the country to seek financial protection. Twenty-five outstanding claims of priest sexual abuse will now be settled by a judge in a bankruptcy court. Bishop William Franklin said, “Because settlement demands are greater than the available assets of the diocese, we cannot continue on our present path,” the Quad City Times reports.

Since 2004, the diocese has paid $10.5 million to resolve lawsuits, including a $9 million settlement involving 37 victims, according the Associated Press. The decision to file bankruptcy comes after a new set of complaints were filed against retired Bishop Lawrence Soens accusing him of misconduct with students during his time as principal of an Iowa City Catholic high school in the 1960s.

Craig Levien, one victim’s lawyer, said that due to the bankruptcy filings some future trials may be dismissed, reports the Associated Press. Levien told the Associated Press, “I think it’s a sad day for the victims of clergy abuse in the Davenport Diocese as well as its parishioners. I believe it’s just an unnecessary step… with the real purpose being an effort to try and eliminate future responsibility.”

Sources:

Quad City Times 10/12/06; Associated Press 10/11/06

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