Bid to freeze assets of San Diego Diocese rejected

Church officials of the Diocese of San Diego are pleased with the ruling of a Los Angeles judge, who has rejected claims that the diocese transferred property worth millions of dollars to escape liability in sexual abuse lawsuits, reported the Union-Tribune.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz ruled Oct. 5 that a lawyer does not have the standing to ask for church assets to be frozen pending the outcome of sexual-abuse cases.

San Diego lawyer Andrea Leavitt, who is representing people who claim they have been abused by priests, asked the judge last month to bar the church from transferring any assets it held in October 2002, when the lawsuits began.

The assets in this case include the 16.7-acre campus of University of San Diego High School and the 49-acre future grounds of Cathedral Catholic High School.

San Diego High School is scheduled to close next spring, and its staff and students are moving to Cathedral Catholic High. As such, Church officials transferred the property to an educational nonprofit they control, Catholic Secondary Education – Diocese of San Diego Inc.

"The diocese has been vindicated in this action," Chancellor Rodrigo Valdivia told the Union-Tribune. "The transactions which the diocese has effected have been proven to be lawful and appropriate."

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