Fairbanks, Alaska, Feb 15, 2008 / 00:33 am America/Denver (CNA).
The bishop of Fairbanks announced on Wednesday that the failure of negotiations to settle dozens of sexual abuse claims means the Diocese of Fairbanks will have to file for bankruptcy, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
The negotiations allegedly failed because one of the diocese’s insurance carriers did not “participate meaningfully.”
More than 140 people have filed claims against the diocese alleging sexual misconduct by priests or church volunteers in incidents from the 1950s to the early 1980s. Though a handful of claims have been settled, most are still pending.
Other claims involving the same priests and volunteers were filed against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, but were settled in a $50 million settlement reached in November.
The Diocese of Fairbanks intends to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which will open the financial records of the diocese to scrutiny. Robert Hannon, chancellor and special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler, said bankruptcy would provide a way for church assets to be distributed fairly among abuse victims.