Portland Diocese Settles 150 Sex Abuse Suits

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland and about 150 people allegedly molested by Portland priests have reached a settlement agreement for an undisclosed amount, US District Judge Michael Hogan announced yesterday. Because the Archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2004, the settlement must still go before a bankruptcy court judge. Insurance companies, however, have already agreed to pay at least $50 million towards the settlement, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the Associated Press, the Archdiocese expects to be able to handle all current and future claims without selling off any property owned by the Church.

Already, suits filed for sexual abuse committed by priests have cost the Portland Archdiocese at least $50 million from settling litigation with insurance companies and $15 million in legal costs, AP reports. The Portland Archdiocese was the first in the nation to seek protection by filing for bankruptcy. Since then, dioceses in Tucson, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; and Davenport, Iowa have claimed bankrupt status.

David Clohessy, the national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said he hoped that the settlements will help to end the pattern of sexual abuse by priests, saying, “We are grateful they had the wisdom to go to the courts and had the persistence to continue throughout this arduous process. Kids are safer because of their courage. Every Catholic in Oregon owes these wounded but compassionate victims a debt of gratitude.”

LEARN MORE Read “New Battleground for Survivors of Priest Child Sex Abuse” in the Winter 2002 issues of Ms., an article about taking priest sex abuse cases to court

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AP 12/12/2006; Los Angeles Times 12/12/06

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