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Tucson Diocese proposes $20M cap for sex-abuse claims

.- The Diocese of Tucson has filed an amended bankruptcy plan that seeks to limit its payout for sex-abuse claims to $20 million, reported the Associated Press.

Faced with 103 sex-abuse claims, the diocese had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. A hearing on the amendment is scheduled May 19.

In its filing, the diocese said of the 103 claims, 36 appeared to be invalid; nine were filed by parents of alleged victims; and 32 appeared plausible but require more information.

Diocesan spokespeople say the new plan filed Monday is the only way to ensure that plaintiffs are paid off fairly while preserving the diocese.

In addition to creating a $20-million cap, the plan also proposes a $5.5-million limit to the amount available to pay future claims by people who recover memories of abuse.

The diocese plans to raise the $20 million through insurance settlements, parishioner donations and real estate sales.

Currently, the diocese hopes the fund will be bolstered by a $7-million settlement with Hartford Insurance, which is awaiting court approval, and an estimated $3.2-million property auction scheduled for May 21.


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