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Spokane diocese offers $45.7M to settle clergy sex abuse cases

[JURIST] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane [official website] has offered a $45.7 million settlement to 75 clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive] complainants. Some observers wonder how the diocese can afford the settlement since filing for bankruptcy [Seattle Times report] from previous sex abuse lawsuits. The settlement offer must be approved by the US Bankruptcy Court and each of the individual victims within 120 days. If the settlement is accepted, the diocese must pay 80% of the $45.7 million by October 2007. The settlement will cover all plaintiffs who have already filed suit, but no provision has been made for those who file suit in the future. A bankruptcy judge has already ruled that the property of the diocese's 82 individual parishes can be sold or mortgaged to help cover the cost of the settlement. That ruling is currently on appeal. The Spokane settlement offer comes a day after court approval of an $85 million clergy abuse settlement [JURIST report] in Kentucky. AP has more.

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