[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of San Diego [diocesan website] Friday announced an agreement to pay $198.1 million to settle 144 claims of sexual abuse by its clergy. In February, 42 clergy sex abuse cases were suspended - the night before they were scheduled to begin - after the diocese sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection [JURIST report]. US Bankruptcy Judge Louise DeCarl Adler ordered [JURIST report] the cases to go to trial last month, accepting arguments by plaintiffs lawyers that the move could put pressure on the diocese to settle the claims. The $198.1 million settlement is the second largest ever paid by a diocese.
In January 2007, the Catholic Diocese of Spokane [diocesan website] agreed to settle molestation claims [JURIST report] against its own priests for $48 million as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 [JURIST report] in 2004, and the dioceses of Tuscon, Spokane, and Davenport soon followed suit in the wake of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits [JURIST news archive] against clergy. AP has more.