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Portland Archdiocese First in Nation to File for Bankruptcy

The Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon on Tuesday became the first archdiocese ever to file for bankruptcy protection because of damages awarded to victims of sexual abuse by priests. The bankruptcy filing will stop a lawsuit seeking $130 million in damages scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday brought by two alleged victims of priest sexual abuse, though Church officials claim that they were not trying to “avoid responsibility” in this case, the Oregonian reports. Portland’s archdiocese has the second highest settlement rate in the nation, already spending more than $53 million in settlements to 130 victims, according to the Oregonian. There are still 60 unsettled suits facing Portland that will now go before a bankruptcy judge instead of a jury. In other news, the Vatican reported a 2003 deficit of $11.8 million, its third year with a deficit in a row. The United States remained the main source of donations to the Vatican.

Sources:

Oregonian 7/7/04; Statesman Journal 7/8/04; Associated Press 7/8/04; NY Times 7/8/04

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