San Diego Diocese Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

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SAN DIEGO, California, FEB. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection shortly before it was to go to trial over a clerical sex-abuse lawsuit.



San Diego is the fifth U.S. diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy protection.

The diocese's filing halted court proceedings that were scheduled for today in the first of 143 lawsuits leveled. Plaintiffs in the case had refused a settlement offer which the diocese made on Tuesday.

In a letter posted Feb. 21 on the diocesan Web site, Bishop Robert Brom advised the faithful that a bankruptcy filing could be necessary since "good stewardship demands that settlements not cripple the ability of the Church to accomplish its mission and ministries."

The bishop added: "Consequently we must consider how best to fairly compensate the victims while at the same time not jeopardizing our overall mission. If this cannot be done through settlement negotiations, the diocese may be forced to file a Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court."

The letter explained that the sexual abuse claims of 43 people have already reached "pastoral resolution." Of this number "18 accepted professional counseling and 30 received financial compensation."