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Clergy sex abuse lawsuits force Spokane diocese into bankruptcy

[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington, confirmed Monday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming a lack of funds to cover claims arising from multiple lawsuits against it alleging child sexual abuse by multiple clergy. The diocese already faces at least 19 suits by 58 plaintiffs for some $77 million, and diocesan leaders say that bankruptcy procedure is the best way to ensure that whatever funds the diocese has available are distributed fairly. Critics of the move say the filing is simply a maneuver to avoid imminent embarrassing trials. A letter from Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad on the bankruptcy filing is here. The Seattle Times provides local coverage.

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