Spokane, Wash., Mar 19, 2006 / 22:00 pm
The Association of Parishes of the Diocese of Spokane intends to ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Patricia Williams to reject the $45.7-million settlement offer made by Bishop William Skylstad to 75 victims of sexual abuse by priests.
Due to an earlier court ruling, the 82 parishes are expected to provide for a large portion of the settlement costs. But an attorney for the parishes, Bob Hailey, told the Associated Press that the settlement does not provide a mechanism for parishes to protect their churches and schools.
The settlement also does not account for other parish expenses, such as the legal costs of the bankruptcy and priest retirement funds, which could total more than $10 million.
The settlement offer was first proposed Feb. 1 but it was to have been filed Friday. It must be approved by the judge and the victims. The parishes have 23 days after the filing to submit objections or amendments.
Friday was also the deadline for other victims to file sex-abuse claims. The AP reported March 16 that diocesan officials said at least 176 people had filed claims. This was not a final number, but it was already more than double the amount that led the Diocese of Spokane to file for bankruptcy a year ago.