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Federal judge sends Portland sex abuse suits to court

[JURIST] A federal bankruptcy judge ruled on Wednesday that several civil lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon [official website] alleging sexual abuse by priests [JURIST news archive] should go to trial. The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2004 [JURIST report] on the day that a suit asking for over $100 million in damages was scheduled to go to trial. The filing froze civil litigation and after attempts to settle claims through mediation failed, US Judge Elizabeth Perris sent several cases back to either state or federal court. While the ruling allows the suits to proceed, questions still remain about the value of the archdiocese's assets and if the sale of church property can be ordered. The two sides widely dispute the amount of money available and the archdiocese's means to raise more. Archdioceses in Spokane, Washington and Tuscon, Arizona have also filed for bankruptcy protection. Reuters has more. The Oregonian has local coverage.

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