Spokane, Wash., Dec 6, 2004 / 22:00 pm
Hoping to receive a clearer picture of its financial liability in sex abuses lawsuits and that its insurers will pay some of the claims, the diocese of Spokane, which yesterday became only the third in the U.S. to file for bankruptcy, is heading into relatively uncharted and unpredictable legal issues, the costs of which may be very much higher than expected.
The Spokane diocese has filed for bankruptcy citing total liabilities of $81 million, $76 million of which are in sex-abuse claims. The diocese has only $11 million dollars in assets, the Seattle Times reports.
Acknowledging the risk entailed, the diocese’ attorney, Shaun Cross said that "the diocese chose the option that it believes has the greatest chance of paying the most to claimants" while still allowing the Church to continue its work.
He explained that once the diocese has filed for bankruptcy the court will set a deadline on claims coming forward and the extent of the diocsese’ financial liablity can then be determined by the diocese and its insurers.